Codarts Rotterdam

Former Codarts students perform during Sacred Songs Rotterdam

On Saturday, September 30, the organization Culture Connection presents a brand new Sacred Songs concert in the Pelgrimvaderskerk in Delfshaven, Rotterdam. A concert performance in which spirituality, music and poetry come together. On stage that evening are 4 former Codarts students: Khorshid Dadbeh, Madhu Singh, Cicci Isenia and Emine Tokail.

Former Codarts students perform during Sacred Songs Rotterdam

Accompanied by Monica Akihary, winner of the Boy Edgar Prize 2023, they will perform repertoire from their own culture and tradition around the theme "Freedom and Peace. But who are these young artists and what are they doing nowadays? Codarts spoke with singers Khorshid Dadbeh and Cici Isenia

Khorshid Dadbeh came to the Netherlands five years ago from Tehran, Iran, to study the instruments Tar, Tanbour and Setar at Codarts. After earning her bachelor's degree, she went on for her master's degree in Performing Music. Cici Isenia came to the Netherlands from Curacao to study at Codarts. Cici took the Music in Education programme: "a very broad education that makes me employable in many places."

But what did the education ultimately bring them? For Khorshid, Codarts was a special place. It gave her the opportunity to learn new methods of creating and analyzing music. And above all, to study Modal, a genre that is especially well-known in countries like Iran, Turkey and Armenia. She adds: "on the other hand, meeting and playing with musicians from different countries and cultures, in the friendly environment of Codarts, has improved my understanding of artistic and professional skills and relationships." Cici says that at the programme she was exposed to different genres of music. "This has made me flexible and creative as a professional."

"Music is a never ending journey that requires practice and study and I try to develop my music by traveling and playing in Iran and other countries."- Khorshid Dadbeh

After they graduated, they entered the work field. Both Cici and Khorshid started teaching mainly singing and music. In addition to teaching, Khorshid forms the Jansouz Collective with her brother, plays concerts in duo Hamraaz and has an album on the way. Cici teaches at two elementary school and gives individual lessons at De Zangschool in Dordrecht. She also performs as an artist, writes songs and is a background singer for several Dutch artists. Development is paramount for both of them. "I find it important to keep developing myself, that's why I keep taking courses and workshops in the field of vocal technique and education, but also when it comes to entrepreneurship" said Cici. Khorshid sees music "as a journey without end, which requires practice and study and I try to develop my music by traveling and playing in Iran and other countries."

Sacred Songs
When asked what Sacred Songs means to alumni, Cici says she finds bringing different cultures and religions together so special. She adds, "I believe we experience more understanding and love for each other when we participate in each other's cultures. How incredibly cool is it that I get to contribute to this?"For Khorshid, the theme of freedom is especially meaningful. She emphasizes that she finds it important to be able to express her feelings through music for the people of Iran, because of the current situation in the country.

Collaboration Codarts
The Rotterdam edition of Sacred Songs is in collaboration with Codarts, among others. According to supervisor Jan Kuhr of the Codarts World Music Department, the collaboration represents an inclusive view of different global music genres on a local level. It is a way for Codarts to inspire, connect and support artists. It offers emerging artists a stepping stone to take the next steps from the conservatory to a professional career.

Sacred Songs is a collaboration with Rotterdam partners such as Codarts, Grounds Pelgrimvaderskerk, Desiyup, Open Rotterdam and neighborhood partners from Delfshaven. With thanks to Pilgrim Harbour, municipality of Rotterdam, st. van Leeuwen-Lignac, DeltaportDonatiefonds.

Practical information
Location: Pelgrimvaderskerk Delfhaven, Aelbrechtskolk 20, 3024 RE Rotterdam
DateSaturday 30 September 2023
Time: 16.30
Tickets: Sacred Songs Rotterdam Tickets (

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