Songs of the Soul Presenters and Artists

Nahid Angha, Ph. D., is the co-director and co-founder of the IAS, founder of the International Sufi Women Organization, the executive editor of Sufism: An Inquiry, and the main representative of the IAS to the United Nations (NGO/DPI). Dr. Angha is an internationally published scholar with over twenty published books and many articles. She has lectured at the UN, the Smithsonian Institute, and many conferences around the world including the Parliament of the World’s Religions conferences in Cape Town and Barcelona. She was named by Huffington post as one of the “50 Powerful Women Religious Leaders To Celebrate on International Women’s Day, 2014.”





Rebecca Foust has published five books of poetry, most recently Paradise Drive, widely reviewed in local and national media. Her work has appeared in Hudson Review, Massachusetts Review, North American Review, Pleiades, Sewanee Review, and many other journals. Recognitions include the 2015 James Hearst Poetry Prize judged by Jane Hirshfield, fellowships from MacDowell, Sewanee, and the Frost Place, and recent appointment as Marin County Poet Laureate.





Reverend Canon Charles P. Gibbs. A lover of the Mystery, Episcopal priest, visionary and poet, Charles Gibbs has always sought to serve the world through spiritual transformation and cooperative engagement for the good of all life on this sacred Earth. He served as the founding Executive Director of the United Religions Initiative (, a global grassroots community promoting interfaith cooperation for peace, justice and healing in 78 countries. As son, brother, husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather, he cherishes and is inspired by his family. Mindful of the abundant blessings that come even through life’s biggest challenges, he seeks to live each moment in gratitude.




Shah Nazar Seyed Dr. Ali Kianfar is the co-director and co-founder of the International Association of Sufism, and executive editor of the journal Sufism: An Inquiry. He is a disciple of Moulana Shah Maghsoud, 20th Century Persian Master of the Uwaiysi Tariqat. Dr. Kianfar began studying erfan under the guidance and supervision of his Master, who later appointed him to teach and lead gatherings. An internationally published author and lecturer, Dr. Kianfar has taught Sufism and Islamic Philosophy throughout the world for over 40 years and has thousands of students internationally. He is the founder and spiritual director of 40 Days: The Alchemy of Tranquility, a psychospiritual program for spiritual growth and inner peace.




Edwardo Madril is a member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora Mexico. He is an active member of the Native American community and represents his culture as a dancer, singer, teacher, playwright and filmmaker. For over 25 years, Madril’s involvement with and commitment to native heritage has provided him the opportunity to share a wealth of information amongst diverse communities. His work has included outreach to Bay Area schools designed to encourage students’ appreciation and respect for American Indian dance, music, culture, history, art, and sign language.\











Riffat Sultana channels the musical wisdom of 500 years and eleven generations of master vocalists from India and Pakistan.  Daughter of legendary classical singer, the late Maestro Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Riffat is the first woman from her family’s musical lineage to publicly perform in the west.  She has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Quincy Jones, Egyptian singer Hakim, and DJ Cheb i Sabbah.  Riffat performs a wide variety of traditional and modern material from the Indian sub-continent, including Sufi, Ghazal, Qawwali, Bhangra, and Bollywood classics.  She is accompanied by her husband Richard, an accomplished guitarist, music producer, and a student of her father’s music.




Evelie Delfino Såles Posch, heartistic director of Heartsongs for Sakina, is a sacred song singer/writer; recording artist; drummer; dancer; Pranic and Certified Sound Healer and Therapist; choral director; storyteller; actress; music educator; and magical activist whose talents span the traditions of her ancestors and the progressive edge of ceremony, world music and dance.






Avay-i-Janaan Echoes of the Unseen is a poetry slam collective originating through the Echoes of the Unseen. The members represent the journey of a human being from and into the heart and creation of the universe within themselves. Through poetry, movement, rhythm, and song, you are invited to seek your own origin in the light that emerges from the stillness of inner peace and unity.


Taneen Sufi Music Ensemble creates new and original melodies while remaining deeply rooted in the intentions of ancient Sufi music. They sing the profound love poetry of the great Sufi Masters in English, as translated by Dr. Nahid Angha, and incorporate holy phrases in Arabic and Persian, carrying the message of peace and unity to diverse audiences. All members of the ensemble are Sufi seekers/students and all are members of the International Association of Sufism. Taneen has performed locally and internationally at events dedicated to peace-building, human rights, and interfaith understanding and cooperation, such as the Women’s Partnership for Peace in the Middle East Conference in Oslo, Norway, the Parliament of World’s Religions in Barcelona, Spain, and the celebration of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, California.





Hamaseh Kianfar, Ed.D., is Moulana Shah Maghsoud’s granddaughter and was named after his book Hamaseh-i-hayyat, The Epic of Life. She is a member of the International Association of Sufism, the Sufi Women Organization, and founding member and director for Voices for Justice, which advocates for the rights of children. She holds a doctoral degree in education. She has served as a director, clinical director, and as a medical case manager for HIV positive women and children, a subject on which she has co-authored and published several research papers. She has written many articles, and co-authored Sufi Stories with her sister Sahar Kianfar.





Leili First, Ph. D. is a student of Uwaisyi Sufism, and a long-time member of the International Association of Sufism and Sufi Women Organization. She has given lectures on Sufism and Women in Islam at colleges and universities and presented at the Annual Sufism Symposium and Parliament of the World’s Religions. She holds a Ph.D. in Transformative Studies. Her doctoral research focused on Creativity in Theoretical Physics and she is currently exploring the intersection of scientific and spiritual understanding of the universe.





Safa Ali Michael Newman is President of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Sufism and Chairperson of IAS’ Executive Committee of the Institute for Sufi Studies. He leads a bi-weekly gathering of Sufis in Marin County, California. He has given lectures on Sufism, Islam, and interfaith issues both locally and nationally including at the Association of Humanistic Psychology Conference. He has authored a book on Uwaiysi Sufism and Islam entitled The Gift of the Robe and co-authored another book on Sufism entitled Sufi Grace -Sacred Wisdom – Heart to Heart.





Professor Arthur Kane Scott has taught history/cultural studies for more than 20 years at Dominican University of California, specializing in Islam, Native American Studies and World History, and has authored online courses for UC Berkeley Extension. He has been voted “Teacher of the Year” at Dominican, and has served on the board of the Museum of the American Indian in Novato, CA, for ten years and his current research interest includes a biography of “Cochise: His Time /Culture.” He has written numerous articles on the Middle East and U. S. politics and civil liberties. Professor Scott has been a member of the International Association of Sufism for more than twenty years under the guidance of Shah Nazar Seyed Dr. Ali Kianfar, distinguished co-founder of IAS.




Hamed Ross has been a member of the International Association of Sufism for more than 25 years. He is a graduate student of Big History and he works in the computer software industry.  He has been a resident of the Bay Area all his life.







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