Zaharr A Hayatti

The Gilded Serpent presents...

Zaharr A Hayatti

Zaharr Anastasia Hayatti, according to her first teacher, "remembered" dance in 1966. Her earliest public performances were at Sproul Plaza on the campus of the University of California in Berkeley. She worked as a street performer with Don "The Mullah" Brown, (originally a member of "The Golden Toad", now known from California's Renaissance Faires' "Mullah's Coffehouse").  She began her professional career at the orginal "Café Minerva" on Eddy Street in San Francsico's Tenderloin District. From there it was on to the Bagdad, The Casbah, and The Greek Taverna, during the "North Beach Era" of the late 1960s.

She began touring as a dancer with the legendary Kanun player, Ishmael throughout California, and moved to Europe in 1971. Returning to the Bay Area in the Mid-1970's, she performed again on North Beach, and spent two years dancing at The Pasha Restaurant, before leaving the U.S. again.  This time, it was for fifteen years in Japan.   In Tokyo she studied Classical Japanese Dance as a preparation to learn to wear Kimono correctly for her eventual discipleship at the famous "Ura Senke" school of Tea Ceremony in Kyoto, Japan. She paid for her required and costly kimono by touring as a Middle eastern Dancer to cities all over Japan, appearing on Japanese National Television numerous times, and in many magazines and newspapers throughout the country.

An assortment of injuries from several accidents slowed down her thirty-year career as a dancer. She trained to teach English as a Foreign Language, and spent her evenings singing Japanese "Enka" (Blues) at her neighborhood "Karaoke" bar.

Zaharr returned to the United States to be with her family in 1997. With the recommendation of her friend and fellow dancer Rebaba (of Habi Ru), she danced for a while at the Marakkech Restaurant in San Francisco.

She finally ended her dancing career in the Autumn of 1997, after yet another devastating traffic accident that left her with permanent injuries. With her background in languages and teaching, she became the owner of a language school for teaching children and their families, which grew to a staff of six international language teachers.

Three years ago, in 2000, she began re-training her voice to sing Greek Rebetica Music, a genre she had discovered at the original Minerva Café, in 1968. Now she is the vocalist, leading an acoustic Rebetica Orchestra with her finger cymbals. More than eleven musicians who call themselves "The Smyrna Time Machine", play old style Rebetica which was mainly composed between 1918 and 1936.

It was rumored that she was preparing to perform again as a dancer when she was seen buying costumes and finger cymbals at "Rakkasah" recently!

With the sisterly support of Rebaba: "You just re-train your body to dance AROUND the injuries, Zaharr!" and an inspired recent performance with Matthew Montfort, of Ancient Future  and Salaheddin Takesh, the great World Drummer, she regained the will to continue her career as a dancer. She will be appearing at Papa's Taverna.

Articles on Gilded Serpent by or about Zaharr A Hayatti

Zaharr's Memoir