The Kennedy Center

Saffron Caravan


Saffron Caravan, the entire nine-member Genesis World Music Ensemble, unites  stellar musicians from Iran, Afghanistan, Cuba, Morocco and the U.S. to serve as a model of cross-cultural collaboration for other disciplines to emulate. Their repertoire, spanning seven languages and multiple keys, explores both the sacred and mystical traditions in Arab, Jewish and Persian music.  Infused with sub-Saharan roots of blues and jazz, spiced with Afro-Caribbean and South-American rhythms, their evocative melodies transport our international audiences. Their performances feature foreign integrated artists. Five of the nine musicians are Grammy-Awardees / Nominees.  

Saffron Caravan artists create novel musical compositions and perform together under the aegis of Genesis at the Crossroads. They demonstrate that the arts can be used to build sustainable bridges between cultures in conflict. Genesis at the Crossroads furthers the impact of Saffron Caravan’s performances through arts-education master classes, speaking engagements, community partnerships, cross-cultural exchanges and humanitarian work. 


Kiu Haghighi, Santour (Iran)
Humayun Khan, Harmonium & Vocals (Afghanistan)
Jean Christophe Leroy, Percussion & Vocals (U.S./Canada)
Howard Levy, Piano & Harmonica (U.S.)
Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Drums (Cuba)
Victor Miranda, Bass (Cuba)
Alberto Mizrahi, Vocals (U.S.)
Shahin Shahida, Guitar (Iran)
Haj Youness, Oud (Morocco)

Howard Levy, Musical Director
Wendy Sternberg, MD, Founder & Executive Director

Genesis at the Crossroads

"Genesis at the Crossroads is a Chicago-based not-for-profit organization, founded in 1999, dedicated to bridging cultures in conflict through the arts by creating and implementing artistic, arts-education and humanitarian programs around the world."

"Our organization brings together ethnic artists to share their talents and collaborate across deepened religious and socio-political lines to create, and perform new vocal, instrumental, dance, documentary film, literary and visual works of art. Our programs unite ethnically diverse audience members, artists, teachers and students to help them discover their artistic self-expression and celebrate their varied cultures.  In the face of global strife, GATC asserts that cross-cultural artistic expression serves as a catalyst for inter-ethnic dialogue and global understanding. Our unique brand of arts-diplomacy TM serves as a model for other disciplines to follow."
Saffron Caravan