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The Sky at Dawn: concerts of music from Persia and Ireland.

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Celtic Harpist Diana Rowan and Persian Percussionist Pezhham Akhavass have teamed up to for an innovative cross cultural collaboration. They will present a series of two intimate house concerts and a CD release entitled "The Sky at Dawn".

The artists describe their upcoming concerts as: "An ecstatic journey from Iran to Ireland, the Celtic harp and Persian tombak collide in passion, joy, darkness and surprise. A timeless duo that speaks to our deep need for connection and inspiration."

Harpist Diana Rowan has performed worldwide and recorded both as a solo artist and collaborator. She combines both virtuosic technique from classical training and a soulful quality from immersion in the worlds folk traditions including Celtic, Eastern European, and Near Eastern. She also draws inspiration from classical arts and mythology.

Pezhham Akhavass is a percussionist/multi instrumentalist, who is a master of the Tombak (a type of goblet drum from Persia) and Daf (a frame drum). Pezhham began studying Tombak at age five and developed a very unique ability to grasp the technicalities of the instrument bringing a new approach to rhythm. His unique approach has resulted in Pezhham being termed one of the most distinguished musicians of his generation.

Examiner.com connected with the artists for some insights into their music:

Examiner: What inspired this concert and CD release?

DIANA: I absolutely adore the sound of harp and percussion. One evening I was at a marvelous concert at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and Pezhham Akhavass took the stage with an enthralling percussion solo. He was mesmerizing! Right after the concert I dashed up to him and it turns out he had been wishing to collaborate with a harpist for a long time. So it was all meant to be.

PEZHHAM: I believe that the music Diana and I create is a strong combination of many years of individual experience. Diana brings melodies of Ireland and other countries such as Greece, and I create rhythmic patterns that match these melodies with the Tombak from Iran. This CD is the result of hours of practicing together and listening to each other and what happens in the moment. Most of the CD comes from improvisation which then became fixed compositions.

Examiner: What can concert goers expect from this concert?

DIANA: It's going to be very up close and personal - the seating is limited to around fourty for each of our two house concerts, so you'll get a very intense experience of the full spectrum of each instrument. We'll be sharing music from Ireland, Iran, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Renaissance France, as well as going back to medieval times with three ancient Celtic chants. We'll also bring a good amount of improvisation, along with our original compositions. For example, I'll be sharing two pieces inspired by my travels in Thailand and Japan.

PEZHHAM: Each time we perform we play something new, it is never the same. We decided to share and introduce our new music to our audience via house concerts with limited seating because we need connection and concentration for this kind of music. Examiner: What insights about the concert or CD release you would like to share?

DIANA: Pezhham and I specifically chose house concert format for our CD release concerts, as we feel that intimacy is the perfect way to share this music. This music is about connecting, so we want to be close and interact with our audience - it's not an exaggeration to say the audience is actually part of the performance! We love to play acoustically where the entire spectrum of sound remains intact. We're modern chamber music and believe music is part of everyday life, not restricted to concert halls. While we love performing on large stages as well, I personally have been most moved by performances that are living and breathing in front of me.

The Sky at Dawn Concerts May 24 & 25 Pezhham Akhavass & Diana Rowan Tombak & Harp Duo.

Saturday, May 24 2014. 5-7 pm 16040 Greenridge Terrace Los Gatos, CA 95032. Limited seating $40. Buy tickets online, through Eventbrite.

Sunday, May 25 2014. 6-8 pm Berkeley
1425 Cypress Street, Berkeley, Ca 94703
$25. Buy tickets online, limited seating:
Tickets through Eventbrite.

The Sky at Dawn CD is available through CD Baby.

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