On Friday, January 29th, singer-songwriter Eleanor Dubinsky will debut her songwriting collaboration with Afghan poet Hajar at a 7pm concert at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC. Hajar will be in attendance. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased here.
Dubinsky, who is also a cellist, guitarist, and dancer, was inspired to work with an Afghan Women’s Writing Project writer after participating in the Passerine Project musical benefit in December.
“I was asked by (sponsor) BMI to read a poem at AWWP’s benefit at which students performed songs they had written based on poems by AWWP writers. It was an amazing, moving experience that really struck a chord because I have been focused on doing creative work directly related with critical social and global issues.”
Soon Dubinsky began working with Hajar, an AWWP poet who is in her first year of college in the United States. “Eleanor and I have had a very inspiring cooperation with each other,” says Hajar, who has had several poems published on the AWWP website. “We both have traveled hundreds of miles to meet and work on our project.”
They chose to write about domestic violence, a terrible problem faced by women all over the world, and one that is acute in Afghanistan. “The song is about a woman who experienced domestic violence despite believing her marriage was based on liberal values,” says Hajar. “The lyrics have a mixture of anger, emotion, and hopelessness, and love.”
Both writers have learned from their collaboration. “Eleanor and I are two different women, with different age, from different continent,” says Hajar. “But we both are sick of men controlling our emotions and body. We both want independence.”
Dubinsky found she gained a lot from the work itself: “I am following the winding road of a creative process. We are adjusting the lyrics and melody together, so it’s really a joint process.”
Dubinsky also reflected on what’s special about their collaboration: “We are two women who are creative and strong, from quite different backgrounds,” she said. “I am Jewish, Hajar is Muslim, we talk some about that. There are some restrictions about privacy, including being careful about using her full name. And I feel we are working not only for us, but also with the frame of AWWP, and I hope that what we do helps AWWP to get the word out.”
Be among the first to hear their song on January 29th at 7pm Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3, 185 Orchard Street, New York City. 21 and Over. $12 cover.
Photos: Eleanor Dubinsky by David Chacon; AWWP workshop by Cheney Orr.