The Sufi Night
OCTOBER 2011 - 3 groups
Hajis Marawis Ensemble
Sufi Musics and Songs of Cirebon – Java – Indonesia
The Fakirs of Gorbhanga
The “mad” poets from Bengal – India
The Magic of Samâa Song from Morocco
Program duration : 3 hours with breaks
Conceived like a trip through Maghreb and Asia, this unique Sufi Night will be the opportunity to travel from the deep and rich Sufi songs of Morocco, India and Indonesia, from crazy melodies to more classical or ascetic ones, gathering antic poetry, the heritage of yesteryear, and contemporary inspiration and sensitivity.
Tell me Madman,
What do you search on the roads of the world?
Look into your own home and you’ll find the Jewel.
Why should you search in vain in Dehli, in Lahore,
Obsessed by the invisible and shapeless Master
That has the shape of the Self ?
The same cosmic game is being played within the body
As the moon hides behind the clouds.
Knowing oneself, is the real meaning of the prayer.
The one who has reached the Invisible knows where to go, says Lalan
THE SUFI NIGHT - OCTOBER 2011
Ensemble SYUBBANUL AKHYAR - Hajis Marawis
Sufi musics and songs from Indonesia
Hadrami Arabs from Yemen traveled, traded, and spread religion across Indonesia over the course of several centuries. Today, descendants of Hadrami traders can be found living in urban communities commonly known as Arab Quarters (kampung Arab).
Although Arab descendants in Indonesia have assimilated into Indonesian society in many ways, members of these ethnic communities preserve and maintain self-ascribed "Arab" traditions.
Today Indonesia hosts a remarkable variety of Islamic music and the younger generations of Arab Indonesians use music to reinvent their Arab ethnicity.
Nanang Kurnia Wahab is one of those. After finalizing his Indonesian Islamic Boarding School (pesantren) in 1997, he and his friends started the Islamic music ensemble Syubbanul Akhyar (youthful praise), based in Jakarta. They were the first to innovate the Hajir Marawis music style. At that time basically played by a Hajir big drum and some Marawis handdrums. Nanang Kurnia gradually expanded it with traditional Arabic instruments like Dumbuk (hourglass shape drum), Oud, Gambus, keyboard and guitar bass.
The Hajir Marawis style led to an outburst of hundreds ensembles across Indonesia with the epicenter in Jakarta. The Syubbanul Akhyar ensemble remains at the forefront with their innovative approach and remarkable singers Ahmad Munawir and Nanang Kurnia. The Hajir Marawis is representing the mystical dimension of Islam and seeking the mystery of Islam and therefore related with Sufi.
In essence praising Prophet Muhammad (madih) and the observance of Muhammad’s birthday (mawlid), expressing the meanings and sentiments of Islam on weddings and circumsicion rituals (sunat).
The Fakirs of Gorbhanga - Bengal, North India
Songs of the Free Man - 45 mn
Traveling minstrels, mystic singers, philosophic beggars, deeply free, humanistic and altruistic beings… Whatever their religion or their origins are –Hindu or Muslim, Baul or Fakir- they all explore the Absolute, far from the religious orthodoxies, the ritual dogmas and the rules of the society.
The word “Baul” probably comes from the Sanskrit “vatula” that literally means “in the wind”; figuratively “mad” or “crazy”. The poet focuses on body practices as it is said that everything takes place in the body, according to Lalan Fakir. And if the Man is the reflection of the Sacred World, why not looking for the Sacred World inside the body? Bauls and Fakirs do tirelessly look for this “Invisible and shapeless Master” in the present moment.
At dusk, the Fakirs of the village of Gorbhanga sit under the « akhra » (or « ashram »), a circular and open on nature hut, and alternatively play music on the dotara (a five-string and bird-headed lute), on the harmonium, on the jhuri (small cymbals), on the dholok (drum) or on the tabla. Those who are cousins or siblings do still first belong to their Guru community.
The musicians usually play two main different repertoires : the Baul-Fakir gaan, some devotional songs with bakti and sufi influences which are widely inspired by Lalan Fakir poetry (1774-1890) ; and the bangla qawwâli – close to the pakistanese qawwâli, a recently reborn style, that is associated to guru Gaus-ul-Azam (1826-1906) from the Tarika-e-Maizbhandari, in Bangladesh.
The Magic of the Samâa song of Morocco
It was said: « If the East is the place of Prophets, the West (Maghreb) is the place for Saints (Awliya) ».
The Moroccan sufism has been existing since the 7th century after JC. He quickly spread to the East, up to Egypt, to the North in the muslim Andalusia and to the South, to the Sahara and the West African countries.
The Chorfas Skalli family of Fès, related to the Prophet family, is the progeny of revered Saint Moulay Ahmed Skalli. Moulay Ahmed Skalli zaouïa was founded in the 17th century. It’s still a place where people do regularly practice the dhikr (invocations) and the samaâ (songs).
Moulay Ahmed Skalli (1700-1763) was a perfume seller in the compound of Attarine where he used to read some initiatic writings in his shop. When he died, his disciples bought a house and buried him there. This house became a zaouïa because of its sanctuary and a lot of people visit it and do practice collective invocations (wadifa) once a week, mostly on Thursdays night and more recently on Fridays.
The invocations and the songs follow a precise rhythm that leads to ecstatic trance (jadbah), under the control of a moqqademor, a person of the audience that sits in the middle of the circle of the disciples.
The Samâa of Fès survived and was enriched when the Arabs from Spain did get in Morocco after the defeat of Granada in 1492.
Marouane Hajji (born in Fès, in 1987) is directly part of this legacy. At a very young age, he trained and knew how to get into the ecstasy, this state of mind that is the key of this sacred repertoire.
Marouane was raised in a Sufi family and he acquired his specific skills thanks to Cheikh Haj Mohammed Bennis.
Link to a concert of Marouane Hajji
THE SUFI NIGHT - 2008 PROGRAM
Programmed in 2008 in Cité de la Musique (Paris)
Sufism is still the spiritual refuge of the great Arab or Persian poetry, which yearns for transcendence, ectasy, suffering or serenity. This soufi night, which is an initiatory trip to the heart of the Moroccan mountains and of the Badakhchan, through the Nile valley, the plains of Pakistan and the great city of Damas, is above all meant to be a hommage to the words of the great mystical poets, from Jalal al-Din Rumi to Umar ibn al-Farid.
Ensemble Akhawate el Fane assil
Hadra Chefchaounia – Morocco
She revealed the female discipline in the hadra (soufi ceremony), which had been practised from the 16th century by the women of Chefchaouen and which was linked to the Zawiya brotherhood of the Saint Cherifa Lalla Hiba Belkalia, located in the village of Douar. The Akhawate el Fane assil embodies an important element of the Maghreb's traditions, in which women from North Morocco praise the Saints on the occasion of religious celebrations.
Aqnazar Alavatov – Badakhchan
Chants inspired by the poetry of Jalal Al-Din Rumi
Badakhchan is an autonomous region located in the heart of Tadjkistan in the Western part of Pamir, limited by Afghanistan and China. In this region, where mountain peaks vie with the Himalayan ones, religious musics and mystical singings have blossomed for a long time among the mountain populations of Pamir, which are linked to the ismaelian branch of Islam. The poet Aknazar sings the poems of Jalal al-din Rumi, the greatest mystical poet who wrote in Persian and who was the founder of the famous Mawlawiyya brotherhood in Konya, Anatolia in 1273.
Ensemble Noureddine Khourchid and the whirling dervishes of Damascus– Syria
Noureddin Khourchid was born in 1966 in Damascus. Introduced at the age of five to the mystical muslim ritual by his father, Sheikh Abou al-Nour, he is now considered as one of the greatest reciter of the Koran.
Although he paradoxically studied economics at the university, he went in for a spiritual path. His great mastery of the expression of the Koran enabled him to perfectly master the Inshad (religious singing).
The deep and heavenly voice of Nourddin Khourchid, which only responds to the Daf (percussion), seems to materialize thanks to the metaphysical presence of the Whirling Dervishes. In this unending twirl, which recalls the very origin of the founding ritual, in which Earth seems to be at one with Heaven, one can recognize the universal movement of the turkish Mevlevi and of its arab equivalent from Syria, the Mawlawiyya, whose order was created by the great Jalâl al-Din al-Rûmi (1207-1273), located in Konya (Anatolia).
Sheikh Taha – Egypt
Dhikr ceremony et sung poetry of Umar Ibn Al-Farid.
Massoumeh - Pakistan
Textes d'Alain Weber