- Berkeley Lecture Series will host a talk by Dr. Julie Scott Meisami, Scholar of Near Eastern Languages on the topic of “The Mad Lover: the 'Romance' of Layli and Majnun," on Sunday, August 26, 2007 at 4:00 p.m. at 110 Barrows Hall, University of California, Berkeley. The lecture will be in English. Here's a map of how to get there. Dr. Meisami is a well-known researcher and author. She has taught at Tehran Univesity, Oxford, and Harvard.
- On Saturday, September 22nd, there will be a gathering entitled "Iranians on the Internet," featuring Northern California bloggers, Iranian.com's Jahanshah Javid, and Balatarin's Mehdi Yahyanejad. It will be an opportunity for local audiences to meet people behind the internet pages, and to build new friendships. The gathering will be from 9 a.m. unil 5 p.m. in California State University, San Francisco, and will be sponsored by CSUSF's Iranian Students Association. If you live in this area, it would be so nice to see you there. More details later.
- Students are back and classes will start on Monday. Berkeley is once again bustling with activity and young people. I am reminded yet again how exciting it is to belong to a university community.
- My boss is on vacation and in addition to my responsibilities, I have to interact with many colleagues, university donors, and staff on her behalf these days. My mind has to stay alert at all times. No daydreaming this week or next. I am not sure I like it much when I can't daydream.
- I am considering quitting smoking, again. Sigh.
- My reading is coming along beautifully. I wished I could say the same thing about my writing. There just aren't enough hours in the day to do it all, especially if there is no daydreaming.
It whirls and sings and jumps out of his hands, only to return and to resume the magical and intoxicating beat of music of a different kind and texture, sporadically augmented with the sound of chains chiming. Mohammad Vali once read me a poem in which heaven was described. Among the imagery the poem described, it said: “…and people there play music, a different kind of music, with a different instrument, something we have never seen before, something that might resemble a Daf… .” Tonight I was in heaven, listening to Pejman, playing the Daf so masterfully. I wished he would play longer…..I wished he would live up here to play for us everyday.….I wished we could all be together everyday……I wished Mohammad Vali were still alive. He is up in heaven, playing the instrument that might resemble a Daf. I remember his funeral quite well….his son and his best friend played the Daf as he was put down in the grave….they cried and played and cried and played…and just as dirt was shoveled onto his grave, the two of them kissed their Dafs and threw them into his grave, to be buried with him. I think he is playing the instrument that might resemble a Daf, and I miss him, my friend.Now watch this artistic video clip produced in protest of war by by Abbas Bakhtiari who lives in France. Though other instruments and vocals are used in the music, Daf is the predominant instrument in this production. Now, please see this video clip where Mirfarsad Malekniya and Kambiz Mohitafi perform a Daf duo. If you are still with me, watch this amazing Kurd musician, Keivan Alimoradi, play a solo Daf. An excellent presentation. And last, this is sweet, watch this American man, Matt, play our Daf. No dance this week. You can imagine the dance of angels in heaven to the tune of Daf in your minds. Be good you all, celebrate life, love, and laughter. Enjoy your weekend and don't forget to tell those who occupy your hearts that you love them. When they say it back to you, rejoice, as you are a complete person now.
I used to think I could never again listen to this song. I thought remembering the memories would surely generate enough pain and emotion to warrant some major physical side effect! I thought I wouldn't be able to handle the parade of memories of lost dreams in my mind. I was sure it would kill me to face that sadness. Tonight, as I put myself to rest from a very long day and many days of piled up thoughts, commitments, and emotions, I listen to this song, putting some of those memories to rest, too. They have stayed long enough. They have pained and hurt enough. The memories must go. As a major house cleaning (khooneh takooni) takes place in my heart and mind, I must be brave enough to keep the good and let go of the sad. The song, which I love, written by the Gypsy Kings and performed by Sarah Brightman, stays.
Watch Ostad Bikchekhani on Tar and Otsad Farnam on Dayereh play live at Hafezieh in Shiraz in the early 1970's. I had never seen the Dayereh played like that! Listen to the masters and enjoy. The two of them and Hafez are probably making Heaven sound and feel beautiful right now!