- Title: JORDAN: Syrian band performs brings Sufi mysticism to Jordanian audience
- Date: 13th October 2010
- Summary: PEOPLE LEAVING THEATRE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ALA MOHAMMED, AUDIENCE MEMBER, SAYING: "What distinguishes sufi music is that it belongs to an expression and existential domain and creates a space for meditation, meditation in the music and songs as well as the manner in which the music and songs are performed." PEOPLE STANDING IN FOYER
- Embargoed: 27th October 2010 23:37
- Location: Jordan
- Country: Jordan
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Music
- Reuters ID: LVA87IISCUIABQGM4YRK005MRF7K
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: A Sufi music festival in Amman hosted on Monday (October 12th) the Syrian band Tahleela, a Sufi music group featuring whirling dervishes accompanied by musicians and the renowned singer Omar al-Zahoori.
Tahleela follows in the footsteps of the late Sheikh Hamza Chakour, a choir master at the Great Mosque in Damascus.
The spiritually inspiring music is based on the use of the Middle Eastern instruments the oud (lute), nay (flute), riqq (tambourine) and qanun (zither).
"Sufi music needs special spirituality, special connection. It has its distinctive features and rhythms. This rhythm is close to the heart, characterized by its calmness and special charisma that defines the Sufi rhythm. It calms the person," said Hisham al-Khateeb, director of the band.
Members of the mystical Muslim Sufi sect attempts to connect with the divine in various ways, including music and dance. And the whirling dervishes on the Amman stage followed in the tradition of Sufi dancers before them, turning in circles to indicate harmony with the universe. They also lifted their right hand to signify receiving wisdom from God, while the left arm pointed downwards to indicate knowledge spread to the universe.
"This type of music has its own fans and needs special knowledge from those who listen to it. This type of music is unknown in areas away from where it is played a lot such as the Greater Syria region. The further you go from this area the less people know it. The media also has a role to play in spreading this music," al-Khateeb said.
The artists performed centuries-old poems that attempt to reach out to the divine through music and chanting.
Sufi followers are sometimes branded by extremist Muslim groups as blasphemous. But many others praise Sufism for attempting to connect with God through chanting, prayer and Koranic recitation as well as through meditation, poetry, praise, music and often dance.
"What distinguishes sufi music is that it belongs to an expression and existential domain and creates a space for meditation, meditation in the music and songs as well as the manner in which the music and songs are performed," said audience member Ala Mohammed.
Sufi communities are now growing throughout the Muslim world and some states are openly encouraging the practise to counter the influence of militancy in the region.
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