Unheard Of

Unheard Of! is an ongoing series since 2014 — 7 events so far — presenting poetry, music, and oral literature from a wide range of languages and regions.

Unheard Of! is an ongoing series since 2014 — 7 events so far — presenting poetry, music, and oral literature from a wide range of languages and regions, including Indonesia, the Pamir and Himalayan mountain ranges, the Celtic lands, the Jewish diaspora, Mexico, and the southern United States. All events were hosted in conjunction with our friends at the legendary Bowery Poetry Club in New York City.

Part 1: Indonesia presented Betawi poetry by Corin D. Asmara, Tontemboan storytelling by Rosa and Alfrits Monintja, Ngaju Dayak reading by Ben Abel, Acehnese pantun poetry by Yusra Zaini, and a special performance by Amalia Suryani and her Saung Budaya Indonesian Dance GroupView the “Unheard Of Part 1” Slide Presentation


Part 2: Pamirs presented the music of Shughni sitar player and singer Khurshed Alidudov, Shughni reading by Nanish Nazrisho, a Bartangi story read by Gulchehra Sheralshoeva, Wakhi from Husniya Khujamyorova, as well as presentations by Habib Borjian and Rustam Nazrisho. View the “Unheard Of Part 2” Slide Presentation


Part 3: Celtic, in partnership with Breizh-Amerika, included Irish poetry from Hilary Mhic Suibhne, Irish songs and readings from Timothy McKeon, a Breton musical performance and reading by Matyas Le Brun from his book Douar-Neizh (Earth, This Nest); a talk on Breton by Charles Kergaravat and a performance by Fabienne Geffroy, and a special (non-Celtic) performance by visiting Saami yoiker Ánde Somby.


Part 4: Himalayas included Amdo Tibetan songs performed by the Himalayan Language and Culture Project with Tenzing Jempel and Sonam Lhamo, Sherpa music by Phuri Lama, and presentations by Mustang speaker Nawang Tsering Gurung and linguist Chris Geissler. View the “Unheard Of Part 4” Slide Presentation


Part 5: Mobilian Trade Language featured the words and music of the Mobilian Trade Language, spoken as a lingua franca among different Native American groups along the Gulf of Mexico, performed and explained by Grayhawk Perkins and his Mezcal Jazz Unit. View the “Unheard Of Part 5” Slide Presentation


Part 6: Jewish Languages highlighted secular and sacred song in the languages of the Jewish diaspora, with performances by Ladino singer Sarah Aroeste and Rabbi Yohai Cohen, a master of Judeo-Arabic maqam.


Part 7: Mexico, in partnership with Mano a Mano, presented Nahuatl poetry by Irwin Sánchez, Mixtec tongue twisters by Maximiliano Bassano, Totonac from José Juarez, Tlapanec poetry from Zenaida Cantu and Jhoana Montes, and talks from Juan-Carlos Aguirre and ELA Director Daniel Kaufman. View the “Unheard Of Part 7” Slide Presentation