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Galeet Dardashti, PhD


"Hers is a voice that could easily raise the spirits of an audience...[she] will make you fall hard in love."
- Huffington Post

Dardashti's "voice is a truly remarkable instrument...It soars and sinks its teeth in, seduces and implores...her singing is a stirring testament to the capabilities of naked humanity."
- Zeek Magazine

As the first woman to continue her family's tradition of distinguished Persian and Jewish musicianship, Galeet Dardashti pursues her passion for Jewish and Middle Eastern music as vocalist/composer and scholar. Galeet's grandfather, Yona Dardashti, was one of the most highly acclaimed singers of Persian classical music in Iran. Together with her family, Galeet performed Jewish music throughout the US and Canada for almost twenty years.

Since then, she has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative Jewish and Middle Eastern musicians today. She received a Six Points Fellowship to pursue her multi-disciplinary project and 2010 nationally acclaimed release, The Naming, which interprets some of the compelling women of the Bible. Time Out New York calls The Naming "urgent, heartfelt and hypnotic," and The Huffington Post calls it "heart-stopping."

Her most recent work, Monajat—commissioned by the Foundation for Jewish Culture-is inspired by old and haunting recordings of the Jewish prayers of Selihot chanted by her grandfather. Dardashti reinvents this deep and reflective musical ritual with an acclaimed ensemble of Middle Eastern and jazz musicians. Audiences are enveloped into the ritual with Persian melodies, poetic Hebrew texts, electronic soundscapes, and dynamic live video art.

Dardashti is also the leader of the renowned all-female power-house Mizrahi ensemble, Divahn. The group has engendered an international following with its fresh and fiery renditions of traditional Middle Eastern Jewish songs.

Having studied with her father, Hazzan Farid Dardashti, Galeet has significant cantorial experience and leads Mizrahi/Sephardi Shabbat services throughout the country. Dardashti also holds a Ph.D. in anthropology, specializing in cultural politics and contemporary Middle Eastern/Arab music and identity in Israel. She has published widely on her work and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at New York University at the Taub Center for Israel Studies. She offers residencies, lectures, and interactive workshops on her artistic and academic work throughout the US and abroad. Some of these presentation topics include "Mizrahi Piyutim (Sacred Songs) from Pulpit to Pop-chart," "Iranian Jewish Music and Identity," "Jewish Music of the Middle East," and "Israeli Music and National Culture." Galeet also offers lectures exploring her own artistic work and her Iranian Jewish heritage, as well as talks geared to academic audiences.