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Hajar Hussaini and Eleanor Dubinsky Debut Song at Rockwood Music Hall

March 19, 2017

 

Hajar Hussaini (Russell Sage 2019) and New York City-based composer and performer Eleanor Dubinsky debuted their songwriting collaboration The Station at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City on January 29, 2015. Hajar and Eleanor began their two-month collaboration shortly after their first encounter at the New York City Poets House where Hajar had been invited to read her poetry. 

 

Hajar’s January 2015 collaboration with Eleanor was most recent in a series of artistic accomplishments since her arrival in the United States just six months before. Hajar, a Writing and Contemporary Thought major at Russell Sage College in Troy, New York, has had several of her works published by the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. She also was commissioned by The Initiative to write a poem for its first Annual Awards Dinner co-hosted by His Excellency Ambassador Hamdullah and Mrs. Lael Mohib of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Washington, DC.

 

Before coming to the US for college, Hajar worked in Herat and Kabul for GoodWeave, a non-profit organization working to end child labor; Afghan Women‘s Education Center, an NGO helping men and women achieve more resilient livelihoods in a peaceful environment; The Cooperation Center for Afghanistan; and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

 

Eleanor is a New York City-based singer-songwriter, cellist, guitarist, and dancer. She writes original songs in English, French and Spanish with rhythmic influences from Brazil, Latin America and West Africa. She graduated from Brown University in 1998 with a degree focusing on art and social change. Eleanor performs regularly in New York City, nationally and internationally and has released two CDs to date, Touch The Sky and Listen To The Music.

 

The Station deals with domestic violence, a pervasive issue faced by Afghan women. “The song is about a woman who experienced domestic violence despite believing her marriage was based on liberal values,” says Hajar. “The lyrics have a mixture of anger, emotion, and hopelessness, and love.” Eleanor said about what makes their collaboration special, “We are two women who are creative and strong, from quite different backgrounds. I am Jewish, Hajar is Muslim - we talk some about that.”

 

Hajar and Eleanor have showcased The Station twice since its debut at awareness and fundraising events for The Initiative in October 27, 2016 and March 18, 2017: both were on hand for The Initiative’s Zarif Design Private Trunk Show event hosted by Zolaykha Sherzad in New York City as well as its International Women’s History Month event hosted by Ambassador Lars Gert Lose and Ulla Rønberg at the Embassy of Denmark, Washington, DC.

 

The Station

 

The bus station was empty at 7 in the morning

Like my heart is empty now in this region.

There was a tree; a bird sitting in its shadow.

I was playing with my ring.

 

Turning it left

Turning it right

Around my engagement finger.

All in a blink, I can’t think

Waiting at the station

 

He hit me with his belt at home

He left for his mother’s, I was alone

four years are gone with one strike of his fist

the man who I knew he wouldn’t do this

I’m hollow like I’m a migrant bird

 

Turning it left

turning it right

Around my engagement finger.

All in decay, we’re a cliché

Waiting at the station

 

In a village in the south

No ice for bruises

So a woman hopes time heals her injuries

I read books, go to work, advocate for women’s rights

this happens to them it just can’t happen to me

 

My memory drinks the words we yelled in our war

Apparently the transition didn’t open the door

I did everything right

And still I’m here, and I’ve lost this fight…

 

Turning it left

turning it right

the bus came, and I left the station…

 

© Hajar Hussaini and Eleanor Dubinsky 2016

 

“The song is about a woman who experienced domestic violence despite believing her marriage was based on liberal values. The lyrics have a mixture of anger, emotion, and hopelessness, and love.”

 

-Hajar Hussaini (Russell Sage 2019)

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