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Noureddine Khourchid and the whirling dervishes of Damascus / Festival Katowice Culture Nature - NOSPR

Noureddine Khourchid and the whirling dervishes of Damascus / Festival Katowice Culture Nature

Cyril Zannettacci
Performers
Noureddine Khourchid and the whirling dervishes of Damascus:
Noureddine Khourchid – leading voice
Riad Alsawah – solo, chorus, riq
Mohamad Kahil – solo, chorus, daf
Hassan Arbach – solo, chorus
Hamdi Malas – chorus, daf
Mohamad Kodmani – ud
Hatem Aljamal – whirling dervish
Yazan Aljamal – whirling dervish
Ahmad Altair – whirling dervish

Programme: Sufi songs and dances

‘Don’t ask for what you can’t handle’, replied Rumi, the great Sufi poet and founder of the brotherhood of whirling dervishes, when his pupils tried to find out what exactly had occurred between him and his spiritual guide, Shams-e Tabriz. After his first separation from his master, Rumi fell into a desperate trance: he began to recite poetry, spinning around a pole in his garden until he dropped. Sufism was a mystical trend in Islam from the very beginning; its goal is ecstasy, becoming one with God through asceticism and contemplation. The links between Sufism and Christianity are indisputable, although in its origins it refers also to Indian and Persian asceticism. Like other mystical movements, it contains a certain paradox: on one hand, union with the Supreme Being is attained via means that are aesthetically highly refined; on the other, the asceticism that leads to ecstasy is fundamentally anti-intellectual. Thus the beauty of dance, words and melody should be treated as a tool, and not an end in itself. The singing that accompanies the dervishes’ dance ‘meditation’ is of a deeply inward character: richly ornamented, it expresses the singer’s spiritual state and individuality. Building up as the trance intensifies, at the climactic moment it transcends all the limits of the conscious apprehension of music. The listeners/viewers of a concert featuring Noureddine Khourchid have a unique opportunity to penetrate the sense of what is happening in Syria – in the mystery of a tragedy that eludes all human understanding.

[translated by John Comber]

Duration of the concert: approx. 80 minutes

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