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KIRAN AHLUWALIA with Aida Shahghasemi

May 11 @ 8:00 pm - 11:30 pm

Two-time JUNO and Songlines Award winner Kiran Ahluwalia’s vocals have positioned her as one of global music’s most compelling musicians!

The Cedar Presents

KIRAN AHLUWALIA with Aida Shahghasemi

Saturday, May 11, 2024 / Doors: 7:00 PM / Show: 8:00PM

All Ages


$35 Advance, $40 Day of Show

This is a seated show with general admission, first-come-first-served seating. The Cedar is happy to reserve seats for patrons who require special seating accommodations. To request access accommodations, please go to our Access page.

For Cedar presented shows, online ticket sales typically end one hour before the door time, and then, based on availability, tickets will be available at the door.


Two-time JUNO and Songlines Award winner Kiran Ahluwalia’s open-hearted vocals have positioned her as one of global music’s most compelling cross-pollinators bringing together the disparate traditions of Indian music, West African Blues and Jazz.
With her band of electric guitar, accordion, organ, tabla, bass and drum kit, Ahluwalia creates boundary-breaking songs that invite us to explore the human condition, transcending the self by losing ourselves in a trance of groove and melody. Celebrating The Cedar’s mission to promote intercultural appreciation and understanding through the presentation of global music on this special springtime Saturday evening show.


Two-time JUNO (Canadian Grammy Award) winner Kiran Ahluwalia is a modern exponent of the vocal traditions of India and Pakistan, which she honors intensely yet departs from in masterful, personal ways. Kiran’s lyrics explore themes as broad as cultural intolerance in a largely immigrant society and as personal as the struggle to fully embrace female desire by throwing away shame. With roots in Sufi, Qawwali, Ghazal, and Punjabi folk, she crafts her own contemporary originals while organically mixing with West African blues and American jazz to create a sound that is immediately welcoming and ultimately universal.Born in India, raised in Canada and currently living in New York City – Ahluwalia has long been on a path to master the art of singing and composing. “When I was growing up in India”, she recalls, “there were concerts that people from all over would crowd into. I was entranced by the sound and feel of the music from an early age.” My father would play tapes of Indian music for me and we would also listen to Bollywood on the radio”, Kiran recalls. “So when a song came on that I wanted to learn, my mother would quickly write down the lyrics for me and I would sing along to learn the melody”.From the time she was seven, Kiran immersed herself in Indian music. When the family immigrated to Canada she continued her musical training alongside her regular school. After graduating from the University of Toronto, she returned to India where she spent years of intense deep study in music. Back in Canada in the late 90s she followed more mundane pursuits – she got an MBA in Finance and started working as a Trader. And there it might have ended if Kiran had not had recurring visions of being on her deathbed not having lived out her passion. So she left the world of business and threw herself totally into a life devoted to the making of her own music. Her discography now seven albums deep is one of global music’s most interesting adventures and have featured collaborations with Celtic fiddler Natalie MacMaster, fado masters from Portugal and legendary Malian group Tinariwen with whom her video has amassed over 3 million views.Her albums have garnered her two JUNO (Canadian Grammy) Awards, two Canadian Folk Awards, the UK’s Songlines Award and peak rankings on the European World Music charts.Kiran’s own band is directed by partner Rez Abbasi whose accolades include frequent placement in the Top 10 guitarists on Downbeats International Critics Poll. The combination of Kiran’s open-hearted vocals and Rez’s inspired and evocative guitar work seamlessly bring together disparate traditions so organically, that while the sound isn’t quite like anything you’ve heard, its combination of ethereal elegance and raw urgency is immediately welcoming and ultimately universal. This is truly music for the moment and what the world could use a lot more of.Writing both words and music, Kiran’s songs speak of: fighting civil wars within ourselves, realizing female desire by throwing away shame, untying knots that bind us to stale embraces, seducing a shy lover, of not having learned how to live, and about rage against the middlemen and institutionalization of religion.The title song of her latest album features her composition of the 1990s Pakistani Urdu feminist poem – We Sinful Women. Saat (seven) – “7 Billion” explores aspects of cultural intolerance – the loss of ‘brotherhood’ in mankind. Says Kiran, “It is a theme close to my personal experience. My story is that of an immigrant born in India and raised in Canada. As an immigrant child the hardships we faced were touted as temporary – the effects were permanent. On the one hand, I developed a wonderful double culture – two sets of wardrobe and multiple languages to think in. On the other, I developed conflicting etiquettes and ways of doing things that were neither ‘fully’ Indian nor ‘fully’ Canadian. The earth now holds seven billion people; for me this means there are seven billion unique ways of interpreting things. Yet wherever we live, the majority’s way of doing things becomes the norm; and whatever is different and foreign can be easily mistrusted. The consequence in a large immigrant based population such as ours is cultural intolerance and difficulty in embracing newness”.Her ease of manner on stage makes her a unique and inspiring performer whose legion of fans continues to grow with every captivating performance. Kiran has toured regularly in North America, Europe and has performed at desert festivals in Mali, Morocco and India. Her music has garnered glowing praise from critics around the world. “Ahluwalia is busy honing a transnational sound as fresh as tomorrow” (Seattle Times) and “Hers is a voice destined to enchant more than one generation” (fROOTS, UK). Her compositions and arrangements are a reflection of an ongoing quest to create timeless music in a modern and global context that looks to the future while still maintaining a vital line to its storied past.

To learn more about Kiran Ahluwalia:


Aida Shahghasemi is a Minneapolis based musician with roots in Iran. She studied Psychology and Anthropology at University of Minnesota with a focus on the cultural aspects of Persian Classical Music and the restrictions imposed on the voices of Iranian female vocalists. She received her Masters degree from New York University in Arts Politics where she also served as an adjunct instructor teaching a course she developed on arts activism in Iran. She has worked with a number of different Art and Social Advocacy groups in New York and Minnesota as a musician, graphic designer, and developer and has served as an Assistant Program Coordinator at Hamline University’s Making Waves Social Justice Theatre Troupe. She has been a touring member of Iron and Wine and Marketa Irglova’s band while also being a recording artist on two of Glen Hansard’s albums. Her three albums are “Wind Between the Horse’s Ears,” released in 2015, “Cypress of Abarkooh,” released in 2019 and “Chashmandaaze Rooydaad,” released in August of 2022. She is a McKnight Music Fellow and serves as an adjunct faculty in the MFA program at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Aida is a mental health therapist at CAREFree counseling and works primarily with adults and couples dealing with trauma.

To learn more about Aida Shahghasemi:



May 11
8:00 pm - 11:30 pm
Event Category:


The Cedar Cultural Center
416 Cedar Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55454 United States