OU’s School of Music will host the Nowruz Persian Music Festival, an event within the Masala World Music Series emphasizing the importance of cultural diversity.
“Songs of Four Lands” will celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year, which occurs on March 19. The holiday indicates the shedding of the past and celebrates new beginnings, according to CNN.
The festival will feature music from four regions of Iran: Khorasan, Azerbaijan, Bakhtiari and Kurdistan. Four instrumentalists and, for the first time in the event’s history, two female vocalists will perform as the Bâmdâd ensemble.
The event will kick off with a workshops from 10:30-11:30 a.m Friday, March 6. Featured musicians will play together and talk about the individual music styles from each of the “four lands," said Zoe C. Sherinian, an OU professor of ethnomusicology and the faculty sponsor for this event.
“These workshops will serve as an opportunity for both students and members of the community to get a better understanding of the music and the diversity within Iran,” Sherinian said. “They have a lot to say and teach people regarding their instruments.”
The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. March 7 and will highlight the folk roots of Iranian music. The combination of the four instrumentalists and two vocalists will allow for more improvisational performances, Sherinian said.
“Yes, the musicians and vocalists will come in with prepared pieces, but once you know a repertoire, you can play with anyone,” Sherinian said. “It’s kind of like jazz in that way — it will always keep you on your toes.”
Sherinian, who has been coordinating this event since the mid-2000s, said she always looks forward to this festival because it allows audiences to see the diversity of Iranian cultures. She hopes the festival will continue to diversify in its audience, reaching people from all backgrounds, she said.
“By participating in this festival, I feel like I'm doing a really important service to our school and university as we showcase this form of non-Western music,” Sherinian said. “It's so important to bring the world to Norman, and we can do that through music.”
The festival will be held at the Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall in Catlett Music Center, 500 W. Boyd St.
Tickets for the concert are $5 for seniors and students, $9 for adults and $10 at the door. Advance tickets are available by phone at 405-325-4101 and at the OU Fine Arts Box Office.
The workshop is free and open to the public.