Looking for a musical way to honor Purim and contribute to a worthwhile endeavor?
ESTHER IN AFRICA: A Middle Eastern-themed benefit concert for Darfur, with performances by Divahn and Pharoah's Daughter is set for 7 p.m., March 1, at New York's Congregration Shaare Zedek, 212 West 93rd St.
For advance tickets, call the congregation, 212-874-7005. And for those who collect such facts, it's the third oldest synagogue in New York, founded in 1827.
Just as Queen Esther raised her voice to save the Jews of Persia, female artists Basya Schechter of Pharaoh's Daughter and Galeet Dardashti of Divahn will sing out against genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
All concert proceeds support the American Jewish World Service's Darfur Action Campaign; the event is co-sponsored by 20 New York congregations and major Jewish educational institutions.
Pharaoh's Daughter presents Hasidic chants, Mizrachi and Sephardi folk-rock, and spiritual stylings with percussion, flute, strings and electronica. Click here to hear some tracks.
Divahn infuses traditional songswith sophisticated harmonies and arrangements through tabla, cello, rabel, doumbek, violin and other acoustic instruments, plus vocals in Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish, Persian, Arabic, Aramaic and Turkish. It is the only all-female ensemble performing Mizrahi-influenced music. Click here to learn more. Listen to Ayni Tzofiah for Galeet's classic Persian technique.
And for even more toe-tapping Jewish melodies, here's a link from Shaare Zedek's Web site to that of Upper West Side havurah, Kehilat Hadar and its Pri Eitz CD.