Sunday afternoon I played a benefit for Yawp!, an Asian youth writing program in Chicago. I played sitar with two writers, sarwat rumi and imi rashid. The event was awesome, it was to raise money for Yawp’s fifth year program, and there was such a great collection of artists there, from kids currently involved in Yawp’s program, people who had been through the Yawp program themselves, and other artists in the area. It was such a blessing to be part of such a great group of artists.

Our piece consisted of sarwat and imi reading a collection of pieces they had written before, during, and after a recent trip they took to Bangladesh, that they described as the “bizarre joys and surreal challenges of being muslim, deshi, queer, and deeply engaged in family during muslim holidays, blockades, violent protest, and postponed elections.” this is the second time I’ve collaborated with sarwat, and the first with imi. sarwat is such a great writer, her poetry is deeply affecting, and beautifully written, and imi’s writing is powerful, and flows through details and feelings like water. I played sitar along with their readings in Raag Khamaaj and Raag Kirwani.

Photos by Angela Steele