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Camp Ayandeh 2009: Rhythm of the Drum

By Taraneh Aminian, IAAB

Camp Ayandeh
2009 is the fourth installment of IAAB's Iranian-American high school leadership camp. 2009 camp is being held at Duquette Academy in Western Massachusetts, June 28- July 5.

"Vay vay! Vay vay!" As we ate breakfast, these are the chants that broke out as campers and counselors anticipated today's activities. While Camp Ayandeh has many of these fun outbursts, this morning we also began to integrate the two fundamental aspects of our camp curriculum: leadership and culture. Each day is given a theme, culminating in the development of campers' self-confidence and leadership characteristics that they can implement in their communities. Camp Team Associate Sepanta Mohseni introduced the day's theme of Trust with a truism: "The first step to becoming a leader is being able to trust one another."

The morning kicked off the first day of activity booths, activities designed to give campers the opportunity to experience and learn different aspects of Iranian culture. Campers were divided into groups that throughout the week will rotate through six stations addressing Iranian literature, cinema, games, music, life in Iran, and public speaking. In the culminating seventh booth, campers will put their knowledge of language, food, and other elements of Iranian culture to the test through a competitive (but friendly!) game of Jeopardy!

IAAB campers and counselors participate in the Iranian Music Activity Booth

Counselor Idin Zhalehdoust and Co-Executive Director Kayvan Farchadi led one of the most stimulating of these booths, focused on Iranian classical music traditions. In preparation for the activity, the campers gathered outside, pushing three benches together to form an intimate circle. Once the instruments came out, the faces of the campers glowed with excitement. For some it was the first time seeing the tombak (wooden goblet drum) and the darbuka (aluminum goblet drum) and they could not wait to hear what music could come out of these instruments. To show them the style of classical Iranian music, Kayvan began to play the tombak, while Idin accompanied him on the guitar. At first, the circle was silent as campers sat in awe of the talent and music that was being presented to them. However, the silence did not last for long and soon the group was dancing and clapping along.

After listening to a few songs, the campers wanted to chime in as well. Kayvan began passing around the darbuka to each camper who created new beats. As the beats grew, we wanted to take it a step further and started our own rap song. Idin started the rap and without hesitation each camper contributed to the song (some was even in Farsi).

We were all so captivated by the music created that we had not realized the other staff and campers who had gathered around us dancing and clapping to the rhythm of the drum. The campers really gained an appreciation for the music and created a song that they can all laugh about throughout the week. It was an amazing way to end the afternoon!

About Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) - IAAB is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, non-profit volunteer organization with a young, dedicated staff spread across the United States, Europe and Iran.  The mission of the organization is to address issues of the Iranian diaspora community while raising awareness of the Iranian community, promoting leadership, and connecting Iranians across borders. For more information about IAAB, please visit

... Payvand News - 07/03/09 ... --

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