However, it would be unfair to give her all of the credit. She was joined by five instrumentalists, playing everything from the cello and santoor to electronic amplification, plus three performers from SYREN Modern Dance. The lighting was kept low and moody and behind her, a screen lit up with graphic designs of praying women, Hebrew words, and other images associated with her songs.
“The Naming” focuses on fleshing out the lives of Biblical women, from Michal, the barren wife of King David, to Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob. Interjected with the haunting melodies, she offered spoken word narration about these women and the ones she grew up with in Iran. So beyond being entertained, the packed audience could also think about the roles of women throughout Jewish history.
This is the sort of performance that cannot be duplicated on a home stereo, but my major regret is that I did not buy Dardashti’s CD, which will not be available to the public until the fall. Other fans were disappointed at the lack of encore, but I took it she performed her full album!
The Washington Jewish Music Festival continues until June 13 with performances ranging from kiddie concerts to Irish/Jewish combos. For more information, follow the festival on Twitter here! Find my coverage of last year’s event here.