Sepideh showcases culture, pop and strength in town concert

Sepideh showcases culture, pop and strength in town concert
Persian pop singer Sepideh performed before a crowd of over 1,000 at North Hempstead Beach Park in Port Washington on Sunday evening. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Persian pop singer Sepideh performed before a crowd of roughly 1,500 people on the North Shore on Sunday, drawing young children and older Farsi speakers alike in a pop-flavored performance with international flair.

Organizers framed the outdoor concert, jointly hosted by the Town of North Hempstead and Great Neck Park District in Port Washington’s North Hempstead Beach Park, as a showcase of Persian culture meant to reach out to the wider community.

“This concert is something we look forward to every summer,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said. “It’s a wonderful way for our community to come together and enjoy the best of Persian culture.”

Dozens of people pooled in front of the stage, hands and cell phones raised to record Sepideh‘s upbeat performance. Hundreds of others lined behind them in folding chairs and blankets, with some children running about the field and playing catch or enjoying ice cream cones.

Sepideh, garbed in a scarf of red skulls, blue aviators and a Guns N’ Roses t-shirt, sang and spoke mostly in Farsi. This was her first show in North Hempstead, as well as one of her first outdoor shows.

Sepideh, who was born in Tehran but moved to the United States as a child, recalled a time in Iran where music was “actually forbidden” and said that “it’s still very prohibited for women to perform or sing at all.” This strongly influenced her style and she has aimed to showcase herself as a powerful woman defying stereotypes to “bring women out of the background,” she said.

“My hope and dream has been and will continue to be to have a voice for those people,” Sepideh said. “It’s pretty solidified in my head and in my heart.”

But even for those who don’t speak Farsi, Sepideh said, her music can breach cultural barriers.

“People come from all over the world,” Sepideh said. “Everyone is having a good time, even if they don’t understand all the acts.”

The town and Great Neck Park District have hosted the international Persian culture concert for about 15 years, according to Robert Lincoln, a park commissioner. He said these events are “special” and have helped put the area on the map.

“This is always just a good time. The people are nice, the performers are nice, and it’s a nice community event,” Lincoln said, noting many of the attendees were families.

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