Sonzal: Kashmiri Folk Music and Poetry by Dr. Sadaf Munshi with Mehrnam Rastegari
Dr. Sadaf Munshi of the University of North Texas presents her research on endangered languages in a beautiful and engaging manner with interspersed poetry recitations and musical performances on the santoor. Celebrating Kashmir’s historical location at the confluence of Central and South Asian cultures, Iranian musician Mehrnam Rastegari will accompany Dr. Munshi on kamancha and tombak. Through this extraordinarily rare intersection of talents, knowledge, and lived experience, Sonzal (meaning “rainbow”) lives up to its name by showcasing the multifaceted and multihued artistic cultures of Kashmir.
This concert will be followed by BRM's iconic jam session at 9pm. All musicians and vocalists are welcome!
About the Series
Between the Bats and Bulbuls: Musical Expressions from the Valley of Kashmir
Season 5 of Brooklyn Raga Massive’s Uncovered/Recovered series is dedicated to the rich and evolving landscapes of musical expression from the Kashmir Valley. Featuring contemporary and classical musicians, filmmakers, advocates, and scholars, the series explores how Kashmiri artists navigate limitations on free speech while preserving and innovating on the region’s multicultural traditions.
All events in this series are free and open to the public. If you’d like to make a suggested donation of $25 you can do so here.
BRM acknowledges that our collective and artists have thrived because of the labor of disprivileged artisan communities in South Asia who have played significant roles in the creation, preservation, and innovation of raga-based arts. The Uncovered/Recovered series aims to platform these underrepresented voices and strengthen BRM’s commitment to decolonized art and critical activism. Learn more about the series and past seasons here.
About the Artists
Dr. Sadaf Munshi is a US-based documentary linguist, writer, poet, critic, musician and visual artist of Kashmiri origin. A Professor and former Chair of the Department of Linguistics at the University of North Texas, her research focuses on the documentation of endangered linguistic and poetic traditions of Kashmir and adjoining areas. Dr. Munshi has done almost two decades of extensive fieldwork and conducted various training workshops in India and Pakistan. A polyglot, she writes in Kashmiri (her mother tongue), English and Hindustani (Hindi/Urdu). Her satirical ballads in Kashmiri have been broadcast on the state television in Jammu & Kashmir. In 2021, a collection of her English poems appeared in a special issue of The Punch – a leading literary magazine in India. Munshi is also a self-taught visual artist having produced numerous pieces of art in oil, watercolor, and multimedia. An exhibition of her paintings organized by the Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in 2014 was the first solo painting exhibition by a female artist of Kashmiri origin.She has been featured in numerous regional and international media outlets for her contributions in linguistics, creative writing and visual arts. While exploring the poetic and musical traditions of South and Central Asia, Munshi started learning one of the earliest musical instruments of Iran and Kashmir, viz., santūr. Her exposure to santūr has been instrumental in enriching her understanding of the Kashmiri and Persian language and music through poetry and song. She has since leveraged this understanding to work with world-class musicians on the Voices and Bridges Project as a linguistic and academic advisor.
Mehrnam Rastegari is a prominent Iranian musician and film score composer, singer, violinist, and master Kamancheh player. She has been featured in concerts and music festivals worldwide, including in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, France, Finland, Iran, and Kazakhstan. These performances have occurred at some of the most prestigious music festivals in the world, including the WOMEX World Music Expo, which occurred in Tampere, Finland, the GlobalFest in the United States, NYC, and the Fajr International Music Festival in Tehran, Iran. Rastegari is an extraordinary performer on Kamancheh and has been recognized by some of the best Kamancheh performers and instructors globally, who certified her as a Master Kamancheh player. She had a remarkable performance with John Batiste, the Oscars-winning musician in the "Eyes on Iran" project in NYC. She was featured as a guest speaker in the TEDx event “Oasis: Existence in Nothingness.” Additionally, she composed the score for multiple award-winning films, including “Dispirited” for which she won the award of “Best Original Score” from the Melbourne City Independent Film Awards (MCIFA), and the film “Rotten,” which was nominated for the original score in Japan Kadoma Festival.