Transcendence: A Sufi Music Festival

Join us for a virtual Sufi music festival featuring world-renowned performers from Morocco, France, Iran, and India. Through dance, recitation, poetry, and prayer, Sufis have long engaged within the spiritual practices of sama (“listening”) and dhikr (“remembrance”) to gain transcendence and enlightenment. Passed down for generations, the traditions of Sufi music serve as chains of spiritual knowledge. The music is permeated with longing and yearning, as well as the joy and ecstasy of union.

Although Sufism, the mystical tradition of Islam, is often described as monolithic, it is in fact remarkably diverse, as is its musical tradition. This series of four online lunchtime performances will feature celebrated artists who underline the regional richness of the Sufi musical tradition. Each event will feature a performance followed by a short talk with time for questions. The festival is made possible through generous support from the Lilly Foundation Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 | 12 – 1pm
Sufi songs from Manganiyar and Langa Communities, Marwar, Rajasthan, IndiaSufi songs from Manganiyar and Langa Communities, Marwar, Rajasthan, India Transcendence: A Sufi Music Festival Anwar Khan Manganiyar, vocals 
Barkat Khan Manganiyar, vocals 
Ghewar Khan Manganiyar, kamanchiya 
Mehardeen Khan Langa, satâra, sarangui, morchang 
Gazi Khan Barna, kartâl 
Feiruz Khan Manganiyar, dholak Join us for soul-stirring music from Rajasthan, India, for our inaugural festival performance. Led by the world-renowned Anwar Khan, today’s performers come from long lines of Manganiyar and Langa musicians. They are masters of qawwali, derived from the word qawl (to speak in Arabic), a form of Sufi singing inspired by poetry. To convey devotional intensity, the vocalists draw out phrases and repeat verses that are accompanied by the rhythms of handclapping and drumming. The performance will be followed by a talk with Dr. Scott Kugle, professor of South Asian and Islamic Studies at Emory University.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 | 12 – 1pm
Spiritual Poems from the EastSpiritual Poems from the East Transcendence: A Sufi Music Festival Walid Ben Selim, vocals
with Marie Marguerite Cano, harpTravel to France for a performance by the extraordinary singer Walid Ben Selim, accompanied by musician Marie Marguerite Cano on the harp. Born in Casablanca, Ben Selim’s inspiration comes from the great Islamic poets as well as the Sufi poets of Morocco. In addition to working with traditional texts, he sings and recites his own poetry and experiments with spoken word, rap, and hip hop. Ben Selim will join us live to speak about his music and answer audience questions. He will be introduced by Alain Weber, artistic director of the World Sacred Spirit Festival.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 | 12 – 1pm
Persian Mystic Songs from Omar Khayyam and Farid al-Din AttarPersian Mystic Songs from Omar Khayyam and Farid al-Din Attar Transcendence: A Sufi Music Festival Sahar Mohammadi, vocals
Siamak Jahangiri, ney
Farhad Safari, tombak
Hear of love and longing as presented by the great Persian Sufi poets Omar Khayyam and Farid al-Din Attar in a performance by Sahar Mohammadi. Born in Tehran, Mohammadi is considered one of the most talented young performers of Sufi music today. Her powerful voice, coupled with a deep knowledge of Persian lyrical poetry, is widely praised for offering a carefully nuanced and highly original interpretation of classical Sufi music. Following the performance, our interim deputy director, chief curator and the Ebrahimi Family Curator of Persian, Arab, and Turkish Art Massumeh Farhad will speak about Sufi poetry, music, and painting. 
Wednesday, October 7, 2020 | 12 – 1pm
The Andalusian Samâ of TétouanThe Andalusian Samâ of Tétouan Transcendence: A Sufi Music Festival Zainab Afailal, Morocco 
Listen to Sufi-inspired Andalusian songs from southern Spain and Morocco at our concluding festival performance. Zainab Afailal will perform in the refined styles of Sufi devotional music that are based on two forms of Arabic poetry—the muwashah and the Zajal—which developed in eleventh- and twelfth-century Spain.  Born and raised in Tetouan, Afaillal is one of the most celebrated female singers to perform in this mode, which for generations was believed to be an exclusively male domain. Her performance will be followed by a talk with Dr. Scott Kugle, professor of South Asian and Islamic Studies at Emory University.

More information and registration at the link below:

Source: Performances | Freer Gallery of Art & Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

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