LINCOLN CENTER. NYC
Poet, Translator, Vocalist, Composer,
translating poems by the 13th century Persian mystic, Rumi.
“Rumi’s beautiful melding of wildness, insight and untrammeled joy has found a true, unerring voice in Haleh Liza Gafori, whose own fine abilities as a poet bring these hallowed Persian, poetic gifts anew into 21st century English.” - David Whyte
“Haleh Liza Gafori’s new translations of Rumi are the work of someone who is at once an acute and enamored reader of the original Farsi text, a dedicated miner of context and backstory, and, best of all, a marvelous poet in English.” - Marilyn Hacker
SONGS & POEMS
This song features lyrics by the Persian mystical poet Hafez, composed for the multi-media performance piece “Ask Hafez.”
This song features lyrics by the Iranian poet Sohrab Sepehri: “I am soaring to the peak. I am full of wing and feather. I can see a path through the darkness. The lantern is within me, I am full of light.”
An ode to pine pollen, and a love letter to existence. Recited at the Jean Cocteau Theater for Worlds through Words, in Santa Fe, NM.
A poem called “Orange Alert.” The term was part of Homeland Security’s terror threat warning system. I wanted to open the phrase and explore it a bit, so this poem was born. It’s an older one, but still feels very relevant. This video was filmed by Rattapallax Press and the poem was later published by Columbia University Press.
Opening for Innov Gnawa, Grammy-nominated musical collective dedicated to exploring Morocco's venerable Gnawan music tradition. Featuring some new translations of poems by Rumi and Hafez, as well as songs from the animist traditions of S. America.
In April of 2019, a pregnant whale washed up on the shore of Italy with a belly full of plastic. Here is a poem, an elegy, a rant on plastic, and an ode to her. Following the poem, is a short chant featuring lyrics by Rumi. Recited at Planet Heart's 12th Annual World Peace Earth Day Celebration
Opening for author and environmental activist Vandana Shiva, in conversation with Deepak Chopra.
The first ghazal I translated from Rumi’s Divan-i-Shams, a liberating take on death.
The American Dream on steroids.
A song dedicated to water keepers past and present. Anahita is the Persian goddess of the waters and source of the rivers. In sculptures, she is often depicted with two lions by her side and eight rays of sunshine beaming out of her mind.
Songs from past projects:
Inspired by the peace sculptures at the UN and in Central Park. One depicts a saint slaying a dragon made of retired American and Russian nuclear missiles. The Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli created it out of missiles scrapped at the end of the Cold War.
BEFORE THE SKIES opens with a line by the Persian mystical poet Hafez, what the magi love most about us is the fire in our hearts that never dies. The track features Sean Lennon on bass and back up vocals.
MORGUE SAHAR features lyrics by the poet Bahar, a poet laureate of Iran of more than a century ago who was held as a political prisoner. The lyrics say, "My nest has been ravaged and thrown to the wind. Tyranny of tyrants, cruelty of hunters! Oh God, Oh Cosmos, Oh Nature, make this dark night light. Oh Nightengale with bound wings, come out of the corner of this cage. Sing the song of freedom."
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART. NYC.