The Journey: Notes of Hope

Instrumentation: Soprano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, trombone, french horn, synthesizer, tar, tombak, kamanche, daf, percussion.
Commissioned by: Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto
Duration: 15:00 min
Composition date: 2018
World Premiere: November 2nd and 3rd, 2018 at Agricola Lutheran Church


This is a composition that in three sections which was part of the bigger project called The Journey, Notes of Hope that was put together by Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto. It is a project where it tells the story of displacement, diaspora, and migration. The ensemble consisted of different refugees and new-comers artists in Toronto. The project was generously supported by the Toronto Arts Council. The music is set to poems by Bänoo Zan.

The text:

“The Hajj Pilgrim”


They say
you are a man
in tavaaf

on the Day of ‘Arafah
stoning the Shaytan9

They say
you are a woman
covering your breasts
from the na-mahram

your long hair in hijab

They say
you are angry

never drink or dance
never smile

But I’ve seen you
with Mohammad

in intimate embrace of
religion and justice

chaste and naked

You love like a man
give up everything
for a kiss

You love like a woman
want everything
in a kiss

I heard
you are converting
from you

to the lover
that you are

Wash blood
off bombs and believers

Mourn the loss of innocence
in the ritual of need

Shave your head
Cut your nails
Wrap yourself in ihram

and join the humble crowd
that dies f
or a visit

from you

Letter to My Father

The oceans
at your feet

the sky

The waves
a weaving mosaic

How could I see
so much blue

I don’t remember

We climbed down
the stairs

had no word
for words

in the space
so us

Thanks an ocean

for inviting the desert
to the sea

Is that what
Behesht looks like

you and me
and waters


I stood at the gates
The Roknabad Stream murmured through
Mosalla Gardens
Roses scattered the morning breeze
The sea kissed the boat
and waved at the palace
The king smiled at sycophant ghazals

I was the bard
the blood of the city
the breath of God

Centuries later they would say
that I loved Shiraz
But I feared tempests
and remained true to the past

Open my book
and read your future