Songs of the Soul

Songs of the Soul:
Poetry and Sacred Music

Saturday June 8, 10am-5pm

Presented by the International Association of Sufism, a California non-profit, a humanitarian organization, and a United Nations NGO/DGC.

Westminster Presbyterian  Church
240 Tiburon Blvd, Tiburon, California
Remaining Registration Option:
$90 at the door (lunch not included)

(any cancellations must be in writing and received by May 25) 

Presenters List:
      • Sara Moncada and Eddie Madril, Sewam American Indian Dance, presenting traditional songs and hoop dance.
      • Francesca Bell, Marin County Poet Laureate, 2023-2025, a poet and translator.
      • Taneen Sufi Music Ensemble, presenting Sufi poetry accompanied by original music springing from meditation and prayer.
      • Tamam Kahn and Pir Shabda Kahn, Sufi poetry and music.
      • Riffat Sultana, representing eleven generations of master vocalists from India and Pakistan, master of Qawwali,
        accompanied by Richard Michos and Rami Ziadeh.
      • Georges Lammam, Lebanese musician and solo violinist who is bringing Arabic arts and cultural heritage to the fore.
      • Avay-i-Janaan, international and intergenerational poetry slam and music collective, originating through the Echoes of the Unseen.
Presenter Bios:

Francesca Bell 
Marin County Poet Laureate for 2023-2025, Francesca Bell, is a poet and translator. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Bright Stain (Red Hen Press, 2019), which was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and the Julie Suk Award, and What Small Sound (Red Hen Press, 2023). She translated Max Sessner’s collection, Whoever Drowned Here (Red Hen Press, 2023), from its original German. Her work appears widely in magazines such as ELLE, Los Angeles Review of Books, New England Review, North American Review, Mid-American Review, and Rattle. Bell grew up in Washington and Idaho and did not complete middle school, high school, or college. She is the former poetry editor of River Styx and the current translation editor of Los Angeles Review. She lives with her family in Novato.

Taneen Sufi Music Ensemble
Formed under the guidance of Sufi Masters Shah Nazar Seyyed Ali Kianfar and Seyyedeh Nahid Angha, Taneen, Sufi Music Ensemble has performed locally and internationally for over twenty-five years at events that focus on peace-building, human rights, and interfaith understanding. All members of the ensemble are seekers on the Sufi path. Honoring the heart’s longing for connection to the source of love, peace and beauty, they sing Sufi poetry in English translation, as well as sacred words in Arabic and Persian, accompanied by original music that springs from meditation and prayer. Music from Taneen Sufi Music Ensemble is available both on Apple Music and Amazon, as well as through other streaming services.

Tamam Kahn
Tamam Kahn has been on the Sufi path since 1974. She is a Sheikha in the Sufi Ruhaniat and the wife of Pir Shabda Kahn since 1976. Tamam has presented at the International Association of Sufism many times over the years. She is a poet with three prize-winning poetry books that are on historical women of the Middle East and Sufism.

Untold, A History of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad, (International Book Award Winner) Monkfish Books, 2010;
Fatima’s Touch, Poems and Stories of the Prophet’s Daughter, (International Book Award Finalist) Ruhaniat Press, 2016;
Across The Difficult; With Rabia of Basra and Others, (BookFest First Place Award, 2024) Albion-Andalus Press, 2023.

Pir Shabda Kahn
Pir Shabda Kahn, a direct disciple of the American Sufi Master Murshid Samuel Lewis, has been practicing Sufism since 1969 and since 2001, is the Pir (Spiritual Director) of the Sufi Ruhaniat International, the lineage tracing from Hazrat Inayat Khan and Murshid Samuel Lewis. He is also the Spiritual Guide of the Dances of Universal Peace~ worldwide. Shabda has studied and performed North Indian Classical Vocal Music under the guidance of the late Master Singer, Pandit Pran Nath, since 1972. He is also a disciple of the illustrious Tibetan Master, the 12th TaiSitu Rinpoche. Shabda leads retreats and camps in Sufism with an emphasis on the mysticism of breath; the science and art of wazifa and zikr; music; the walking meditations of Murshid Samuel Lewis and opening the heart. He brings gentleness and humor in transmitting the rich lineage of Sufism.

Riffat Sultana
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. Riffat performs a wide variety of traditional and modern material from the Indian sub-continent, including, Sufi, Geet, Ghazal, Filmi, Qawwali, and Bhangra.  She sings popular Bollywood classics to entertain audiences at parties.  Her acoustic ensemble features instruments including tabla, bansuri flute, and 12 string guitar.  Highlighting her performances are devotional, and ecstatic Sufi songs to great saints like Shahabaz Qalander and Baba Bule Shah, sure to move your heart, soul, and feet! 

Georges Lammam
Georges Lammam, of Palestinian descent, was born in Beirut, Lebanon. He is a solo violinist exemplifying the Arab style of instrumental improvisation.  A recording artist, composer and artistic director for the Georges Lammam Ensemble, Georges is a featured artist in other musical groups – Ancient Future, Wobbly World, Shabazz and Pena Pacha Mama Group. Mr. Lammam, as an artistic emissary, brings Arab arts and his cultural heritage to the fore in supporting Palestine – both the culture and the people.  His music has enhanced and supported the work of arts and philanthropic non-profits in support of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. His compositions and performance excerpts are included in scores for two award-winning documentaries: Occupation 101 and Tea on the Axis of Evil, and he recorded a well-known folkloric debke in a 2016 feature film, Wrestling Jerusalem by Aaron Davidman.  Opus Omnia (2017) is the most recent within a five CD discography and available at itunes, CDbaby and Amazon, and a new recording is nearing completion to be available in 2024.

Avay-i-Janaan Echoes of the Unseen is a poetry slam and music 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, audiences are invited to seek their own origin in the light that emerges from the stillness of inner peace and unity. Members of the collective span generations, faith traditions, and backgrounds. In addition to music and poetry, members of Avay-i-Janaan are trained as scientists, psychologists, cosmologists, spiritual leaders, and educators. Through immersive and multi-dimensional journeys, they weave leading-edge science from the wisdom of the mystical tradition in ways that foster felt connection between self and universe, origin and potential.

Sewam American Indian Dance

Eddie 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 a representative of his culture through various aspects: as a dancer, singer, teacher, playwright and filmmaker. Eddie is currently a professor for American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University and is a monthly host for KPFA Radio’s Bay Native Circle program.  He has presented as a guest lecturer across the country in American Indian music, dance, religion and contemporary culture for Tufts University, Stanford University, St. Mary’s College, and Dominican University, among others. Additionally, he has had the honor of being an invited guest for Academic symposiums on a variety of Native American issues. As a dancer and educator he regularly presents and performs throughout the western United States for such groups as the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival (performer and panelist), Young Audiences of Northern California and Youth in Arts. He has also been a member of the advisory committee at the de Young Museum of San Francisco for Native programming.

Sara Moncada (Yaqui/Irish), is an artist, dancer, filmmaker, author, Native scholar and cultural arts advocate. Sara is CEO of The Cultural Conservancy, a native-led non-profit organization working in Indigenous rights and revitalization, is adjunct professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University and is co-author of the book The Dance of Caring, a book exploring Native Hoop Dance as a model for care. As a dancer, Sara began her studies in dance and theatrical performance at the age of five, with her 30 year dance career evolving to include classical ballet, modern dance, and Flamenco. Her involvement in her Native American culture merged with her professional dance training and she joined Sewam American Indian Dance in 2008. Sara presents internationally on Native/Indigenous traditional dance, arts and culture, traditional land practice and ecological systems, and Native Foodways. Sara currently serves on the Board of Directors for Association of Ramaytush Ohlone, the American Indian Cultural District San Francisco, and the Indigenous Partnership Advisory Council of Dominican University and is honored to have served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts.