Sacred Music Festival: Exploring Sufi Traditions (Sept 15-29)

Sat, September 15, 2012 7:30 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Since 2007, this annual festival has celebrated the sacred music of the greater Middle East. Previous years have featured musical performances from an array of spiritual traditions, including Hindu hymns, Gnawan trance music, and chants from the Byzantine Church.

This year's festival focuses on Sufism, the mystical, esoteric dimension of Islam, as manifested in non-traditional and traditional musical forms. The 2012 Sacred Music Festival will begin with the innovative compositions of vocalist Arooj Aftab, followed by Ushaq's exploration of shared melodic and poetic traditions of Arab, Persian, and Hindustani music, and conclude with the Tarab Ensemble's interpretation of dhikr, a Sufi ritual that features group chanting accompanied by percussion.

Encompassing wide stretches of geography and time, these performances are unified by their invocation of the state of longing for spiritual union with the divine.

To complement these concerts, we will be screening Bab'Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul, a haunting feature film about spiritual devotion among Sufis by writer and director Nacer Khemir, and featuring original music by Armand Amar.

All concerts begin at 8pm | Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

For tickets to individual shows, click on the event title below:

Festival Pass(3 concerts): $50 General (*buy now) | $40 Students, Seniors,Alwan Members(*buy now)

(*A small online fee is applied - use printout at each concert as your pass)

September 15: Arooj Aftab and Ensemble
Fresh, graceful innovations based on classical Pakistani, Sufi, and pre-partition South Asian music honoring ancestral roots performed by Arooj Aftab, originally from Lahore, Pakistan, and her ensemble.

September 20: Screening: Bab'Aziz - The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul
Bab'Aziz is the latest film from Tunisian writer and director Nacer Khemir.

The story unfolds as the blind dervish Bab'Aziz (Parviz Shahinkhou) and his granddaughter Ishtar (Maryam Hamid) cross the desert in search of the great reunion of dervishes that takes place only once every thirty years. Side-by-side, the old man and the child wander for days across wide seas of sand with only their faith to guide them.

September 22: Ushāq
A melding of spiritual, improvisatory music based on a shared common ground of Sufism, poetry, and related maqām systems. This concert is performed by representatives from North Africa, the Arab World, and Central/South Asia, brought together in an ensemble called Ushāq and presented in collaboration with the Asian American Arts Alliance's Locating the Sacred Festival.

September 29: Tarab Ensemble
Celebrating the communal practice of music through repetitive chanting, rhythmic cycles, and dance movements that transport the devout into a state of trance. The New York-based Tarab Ensemble takes its name from the word tarab, which refers to the intoxication induced by music, the gate through which Sufis cross into the world of true being.

Last updated: 2012-08-28 00:10:41

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