Thursday, April 07, 2016

Fes Festival Preview #7 - Istanbul to Fez

The evening performance at Bab Al Makina on May 12th builds a musical and spiritual bridge between Istanbul in Turkey and Fez in Morocco. It will bring together the famous Mevlevi whirling Dervish tradition and the art of Andalusian Samaâ with the Mohammed Briouel Andalusian Ensemble

Over the years the audiences at the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music have enjoyed splendid performances by Turkish whirling dervishes. In 2008 it was the Al Kindi Dervishes, in 2009 the Mevlevi/Konya Sufi Brotherhood were superb as was the contemporary take by Ziya Azazi, with computer sampling and a series of variations on the dervish whirling. More recently the Khalwatiyya brotherhood who had visited in 2011, whirled, swayed and rocked to the rhythm of their trance-inducing chanting at the 2013 Festival of Sufi Culture.

These musicians, singers and dancers (Semazens) represent one of the most interesting aspects of the mystical culture of Turkey. The Sema - the whirling dance - and the Zikr - the hymns sung by the sacred choir - are connected to each other, a spiritual ambience that leads the Dervish enter a mystical universe.

We have fallen into the place where all is music. The strumming and the flute notes rise into the atmosphere, and if the whole world's harp should burn up, there will still be hidden instruments
playing, playing. This singing art is sea foam. The graceful movements come from a pearl somewhere on the ocean floor - Djalal Eddine Rûmi

This encounter between two great Sufi music traditions is a tribute both to the great Djalal Eddine Rûmi whose poetry is still read today across the world, and to Moroccan samaâ.

Samaâ teaches the absolute primordial sound, engendering the Word of God. For a number of tarîqas, spiritual listening (al-samaâ) and the practice of ritual dance (al-hadra) produce ecstatic phenomena (hal) and trance. Today samaâ is practised by those on Rûmi’s path, the Ottoman Mevlevis, as well as by the Arab Mawlawiyya and numerous brotherhoods across the Maghreb. Morocco is an important guardian of this tradition.

Mohamed Briouel (centre)

As musicologist Sami Sadak noted, the history of Turkish religious music is closely allied to the various successive capitals of the Turkish Empire. In the 13th century, Konya became an important cultural centre under the reign of the Seljuk Turks thanks to Mevlâna Djalal Eddine Rûmi, who placed a great deal of importance on music in his philosophical and spiritual teachings.

His approach was furthered by Chams Ed-Din Tabrizi who encouraged the worship of God through the arts. The Mevlevî rite recorded by his son, Veled Sultan, is perpetuated today in the tekke (monastery) at Konya by the çelebi (superiors) who succeed him. The foundation of the order of Mevlevi whirling dervishes in Istanbul has left its mark on a musical tradition that is meditative and trance-like.

The whirling dervish, his arms outstretched with the right hand open to heaven and the left directed to earth, is a channel of divine grace. This magic must be experienced: men and women in wide white or coloured skirts whose turning symbolises the movement of the planets and the stars.

Salim Mete Edman, lute and voice
Emre Işik, ney flute
Mert Demircioğlu, qanun (dulcimer)
Gül Ayhan Kahraman, kudüm drum
Savaş Zurnaci, clarinet
Mahmut Demirci, violin

Thanks to Helen Ranger for translations from the French

Istanbul – Fes – Turkey and Morocco
In the great Mevlevi tradition and the art of Andalusian Samâa

 May 12
Book your ticket here

The View From Fez is a Fez Festival official Media Partner

See our Fes Festival previews:
Opening Night Preview
Homage to India Preview
Divas of the World Preview
Nights in the Medina 1 Preview
Nights in the Medina 2 Preview
Nights in the Medina 3 Preview
Istanbul to Fez Preview
Tribute to Oum Keltoum Preview
Samira Saïd Preview
Forum Sessions Preview
Sufi Nights & Boujloud Concerts

Print Friendly and PDF

No comments: