Yona Dardashti was an acclaimed singer of Persian classical music. In Iran, he hosted a weekly radio show, and regularly performed for the Shah. But in Israel, where he immigrated in the mid-1960s, audiences tended to look westward for cultural cues, and his music was ignored.
According to his granddaughter, Galeet Dardashti, he would have fared much better today. Galeet is an anthropologist, a part-time cantor, a student of Arab and Persian devotional poems called piyyutim, and the lead singer of Divahn, an all-female ensemble specializing in Mizrahi music.
She tells us about the Arab-Jewish music craze in Israel, and shares samples of her own songs, as well as her grandfather’s.