Shahram Shiva is a performance poet, award-winning translator and scholar of Rumi, teacher of advanced spirituality, author of several books and a recording artist. He is known for rich and entrancing concerts and performances and captivating talks and lectures.
Shahram Shiva was born in Rumi's province in Persia to a family of Jewish heritage and migrated to the US in his mid teens. In Shiva's events original songs and Rumi poems are performed in unique and passionate style with various musical groups.
Since 2009 Shahram Shiva has expanded his repertoire to include new original lyrics and songs. In addition to performances, he conducts talks and lectures on the future of spirituality, consciousness expansion and freeing the mind from the bondage of dogma and other methods of control. He has been called a "prophet of change and transformation."
Starting as a young prodigy in 1988, Shiva has translated nearly a thousand Rumi poems collected in 4 books. Shiva's access to the original of these exquisite poems forms the basis for his memorable performances and supports his reputation as the most informed and passionate performer and interpreter of Rumi in the world today.
Shiva's translations of original Rumi poems have also been utilized by Western Rumi interpreters and have appeared in over 50 publications and many recordings.
Since 1992 Shahram Shiva has been presenting concerts at the United Nations, Symphony Space, Smithsonian Institution, CAMI Hall, Memorial Hall, Chopra Center, Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Omega Institute, Kripalu Center, Joyce Theater, LaMama Theater, New York Open Center, Yale, Columbia, New York universities, among others.
In addition Shiva has devised a new, breakthrough method in teaching the whirling movement, where he has been conducting large-scale workshops since 1995. This method, featured on CNN, is now being taught by a few of Shiva's whirling students, including Deepak Chopra. Also look for Robert Downey Jr., who was trained by Shiva, whirling in the movie Game 6 (2005).
Your aim should be to free yourself from a dogmatic, fear-based life. And dogmatic lifestyles can be found especially in spiritual communities, where they try to dictate your thoughts and actions.
now believes in a balanced living and does not consider any form of extremism
a healthy choice for life.
Shahram Shiva on Answers.com:
He is a professional photographer with numerous images in print.
He is an expert level, life-long motorcyclist.
He has coined the following phrases: "Rumi Blues" in the 1990's; "The Beloved is You"; "Performance Poet"; "Universal Spiritual Hierarchy"; the "Yoga Generation" referring to the new mainstream popularity of yoga in the US and "The Future of Spirituality" as a topic for his talks and lectures.
He is a 9/11 survivor. During that time he lived in lower Manhattan only one block from the fallen twin towers. He was evacuated for a week and lost many of his belongings due to damage by the dust clouds.
He is a serious film buff and is knowledgeable about classic movies and directors.
He is extremely tech savvy.
He credits the iconic comedians Lenny Bruce and George Carlin as inspiration.
His two biggest musical influences are Miles Davis and Roger Waters.
His works include the following:
Evolve is Shahram Shiva's latest album of transformative songs. It features
new original lyrics by Shahram Shiva, in addition to some of his favorite
Love Evolve is Shahram Shiva's latest album of transformative songs. It features new original lyrics by Shahram Shiva, in addition to some of his favorite Rumi songs.
Blending elements of rock, dance, groove based, ambient, electronic and acoustic and soaring female vocals with the hypnotic voice of Shahram Shiva, this beautiful and unusual album is an anthem for progressive minds and spirits that yearn to constantly evolve and an empowering experience of love, beauty, freedom, self acceptance, wisdom and joy.
Love Evolve is Produced by the multiple GRAMMY nominee and GRAMMY Award-winner Danny Blume and Shahram Shiva.
For more information, to listen or download or order please visit: loveevolve.com.
For more information, to listen or download or order please visit: lovedrunk.com.
Thief of Sleep:
This paperback with a foreword by Deepak Chopra, contains selcetions of
the best of the English translations that appeared in Shiva's award-wining
book Rending the Veil.
This paperback with a foreword by Deepak Chopra, contains selcetions of the best of the English translations that appeared in Shiva's award-wining book Rending the Veil.
Don't Say Anything to God:
A book of lyrical interpretations of Rumi. This selection catches Rumi
in a rare mood and these are some of Rumi's most passionate and heart-felt
expressions, each poem resonating with the intensity and fire rarely seen
in English language before.
A book of lyrical interpretations of Rumi. This selection catches Rumi in a rare mood and these are some of Rumi's most passionate and heart-felt expressions, each poem resonating with the intensity and fire rarely seen in English language before.
Literal and Poetic Translations of Rumi
(Hohm Press, 1995)
Rending the Veil is the recipient of the "Benjamin Franklin Award" for best book in the religion category by the American Booksellers Association. It is groundbreaking translation that traverses the world by which Rumi is brought into English -- from calligraphic Persian, to phonetic Persian, to literal English translations, to his own finely-wrought poems.
Garden Beyond Paradise:
The Mystical Poetry of Rumi
(Bantam Books, 1992)
Containing Rumi's odes and quatrains has been called the most beautiful translation of Rumi's poetry to date. This book has been translated into German. Several of the poems from this book have appeared in The Way of Passion, a book by Andrew Harvey. This book is currently being prepared for a re-release in 2001.
What Inspired Shahram Shiva to Translate Rumi?
I rediscovered Rumi when I was in my mid-twenties in New York City. In Persia we learn of our great poets in grade school. So I knew of Rumi and had memorized a poem or two when I was in third grade. I moved to the States at 16, so it was several years after I moved here that I came across Rumi again and the connection was electric. I was listening to a Persian classical singer, signing Rumi and for the first time I felt an immediate connection to this poetry, I felt that I could hear every word, understand the meaning, the message and the mood behind every word. Looking back now, it was one of the most unique and powerful experiences of my life. I began translating Rumi a few days later, just for myself, because I felt I had to. I brought the words of Rumi into English initially just for myself. But within a short couple of years, I was published.
You see, Persian poetry has been the backbone of the Persian culture for the past 1000 years or so. All lyrics for Persian classical music is based on our great poets and Rumi happens to be one of many. He is considered to be the most mystical, and at the same time perhaps the most intellectual as well, hence he is hardly ever tapped for classical music lyrics. Up until 1980, Persian classical singers hardly ever sung Rumi. However, master singer Shahram Nazeri, changed all that. He introduced Rumi in the 1980s into classical/folk music of Persia and it was one of his Rumi recordings in 1988 that inspired me to work with Rumi.
I have had many dreams related to Rumi, and I wrote about them in my book Hush, Don't Say Anything to God. I remember the night before my very first recitation of Rumi in public, I had a dream that I was present in a shrine of a saint. It was a very vivid dream. I could see everything in that shrine, the color of the walls, the murals hanging on the walls and the green cloth covering the tomb. It was about a year later that I came across a picture of Sham's mausoleum, and everything immediately looked familiar. I understood then, that I was visiting Sham's shrine before my first recitation in 1991-1992. From then on every important step that I have taken to help expand the understanding and the experience of Rumi in the West, has been followed by an important acknowledgment from Rumi. --Shahram Shiva
have been an avid reader of Rumi for years--his poetry has changed my
life. I once thought that Coleman Barks did the only good translations,
until I heard you at a Rumi Festival at UNC, Chapel Hill, 4/5 years ago.
Two of your poems knocked me out--it was not only your translations but
your inflection and cadence in your readings which do not come across
in print. They were "You Worry Too Much" & "Lover Me."
I read "You Worry Too Much" at least weekly which gives me great
faith! I've been waiting years for your CD. Thank you!
the growing number of Rumi admirers, the appearance of Rending the Veil
is an important and unique event, providing, as it does, not only a wealth
of new and quite beautiful translations but real insight into how the
translator goes about his work."
Shiva embodies the culture, the wisdom and the history of Sufism in his
verses are not just meant for the libraries or the classrooms of academia.
They are meant to be recited by human lovers and lovers of God. The passion
of Rumi expressed in this book by Shahram Shiva will restore the exultation
of spirit in your Being. This passion is holy and it will heal you..."
poetry is ecstatic. Here, love of God, love of life and human love all
merge into one passionate stream. These verses in A Garden Beyond Paradise
have evoked my emotions and haunted my soul as nothing has for years."
see all plates
Radio, Web & Television Interviews
Entertainment Talk Show, August 21, 2014
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, August 7, 2014
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, May 13, 2014
Albany, New York, November 14, 2013
Universal Energy Radio, October 9, 2013
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, July 11, 2013
Universal Energy Radio, June 19, 2013
Universal Energy Radio, February 27, 2013
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, February 21, 2013
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, September 27, 2012
Albany, New York, May 31, 2012
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, February 23, 2012
Albany, New York, November 10, 2011
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, August 4, 2011
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, May 12, 2011
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, February 17, 2011
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, December 9, 2010
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, October 14, 2010
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, December 3, 2009
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, October 8, 2009
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, April 2, 2009
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, January 22, 2009
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, August 7, 2008
interview and featured artist, July 22-28, 2008
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, June 5, 2008
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, March 6, 2008
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, December 27, 2007
BBC World Service, Global, December 2, 2007
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, November 15, 2007
BBC, Turkey, October 5-7, 2007
WNYC-FM (NPR), New York City, February 27, 2007
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, January 11, 2007
Albany, New York, August 3, 2006
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, September 8, 2005
WNYC-FM (NPR), New York City, June 9, 2005
WBAI-FM, New York City, May 11, 2004
XETV-TV, "FOX 6 News in the Morning," San Diego, California, June 22, 2001
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, April 6, 2000
KKUP-FM, Northern California, September 26, 1999
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, July 16, 1999
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, May 8, 1999
WRPI-FM, Albany, New York, October 12, 1998
WBAI-FM, New York City, August 28, 1998
WBAI-FM, New York City, November 1, 1997
WAMC-FM, Albany, New York, August 21, 1997
WBAI-FM, New York City, April 26, 1997
WNYC-FM, New York City, December 2, 1996 (New Sounds)
WNYC-FM, New York City, August 1, 1995
WTAB-AM, New York City, July 7, 1995
WBAI-FM, New York City, May 2, 1995
Awards & Grants
Franklin Award (1996)
American Booksellers Association, Best Book in Religion Category
by Independent Publishers for
"Rending the Veil: Literal and Poetic Translations of Rumi"
(1995, HOHM Press).
& Ivory Foundation (Grant, 1994)
by Merchant Ivory Productions
for Shahram Shiva's
"Rending the Veil: Literal and Poetic Translations of Rumi"
(1995, HOHM Press).
Performances & Workshops
Shahram Shiva began translating Rumi in 1988 and performing Rumi in 1992. The following is a sampling of some of the more memorable venues.
Since 1992, Highlights Only
Kripalu Center for Yoga, MA
Memorial Hall, NC
Valparaiso University, IN
St. Lawrence University, NY
United Nations, NY
Museum of Contemporary Arts, San Diego, CA
Chopra Center for Well Being, La Jolla, CA
Omega Institute's Conference in New York City
St. Peter's Church, New York City
Deepak Chopra's Millennium Event, Palm Springs, CA
Second Annual Rumi Festival in Chapel Hill, NC
Wainwright House, Rye, New York
Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina
CAMI Hall, New York City
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City
Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY, over 10 performances
Symphony Space, New York City
Exoterica Poetry Society, Riverdale, New York, 10 performances
Freer Gallery Auditorium, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Sufi Books, New York City, over 15 performances
Poetry Project, St.Marks Church, New York City, 2 performances
The Abode of the Message, New Lebanon, New York, 12 performances
New York Open Center, New York City, over 20 performances
New York University, New York City
Columbia University, New York City
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
(credits include Rumi related productions only)
Indie Feature, New York, 2007
Shiva plays a poet, limo driver who quotes Rumi.
It's a 10-min scene in this feature lenghth movie
that he helped develop and write.
Indie Feature, New York, 2006
Robert Downey Jr. (coached by Shahram Shiva)
whirls in the movie "Game 6." This movie which also
stars Michael Keaton and Catherine O'Hara,
is produced by Amy Robinson, directed by Mike Hoffman
with a script written by Don Delillo.
the Next Whirl
LaMama, New York City, April 25-May 5, 1996.
An opera based on Shahram Shiva's translations,
in which he played Rumi.
Short Film (15 min), J2W
Written, Produced & lead character by Shahram Shiva.
A film inspired by a poem of Rumi.
New York City
Shiva Performs Rumi, Weekly Video Series
Time Warner Cable, Spring 1996 - 2002
and the Persian Mystical Tradition, Bi-Weekly Video Series
Time Warner Cable, Spring/Summer 1995
Special, Channels 16 & 34
Time Warner Cable, 1993-94
The Rumi Network established in the Fall of 1998
to celebrate Rumi and Shahram Shiva's long time association with the poet.
Rumi.net is one of the most popular websites on Rumi.
Shahram Shiva main hub.
Established in 2003
to celebrate Shahram Shiva's CD, Rumi: Lovedrunk.
Established in 2011
to celebrate Shahram Shiva's CD, Love Evolve.
Face artist page set up in 2009.
Twitter feed set up in 2009.
Shahram Shiva, All rights reserved.
ShahramShiva.com, Lovedrunk.com, LoveEvolve.com