Sun, 3 Feb 2019 20:00
Noureddine Khourchid & The Whirling Dervishes of Damascus
Elbphilharmonie Hamburg / Großer Saal
The tradition of the whirling dervishes of Damascus goes back hundreds of years. With music, song and dance, the Sufis dance themselves into a trance in order to get closer to God. One person who has lived this tradition since childhood is the mystic Noureddine Khourchid, born in 1966 in Damascus, who is one of the region's great Koran scholars. Accompanied by a small ensemble of dancers and musicians, he presents this ancient spiritual tradition, which has its origin in one of the most diverse centres of the Arab world, at the opening concert of the »Lux aeterna« festival.
In the whirling counter-clockwise dance of the sema, the Sufis seek harmony with the cosmos, which is likewise in perpetual circling motion. The dance is a symbol of longing for a reunion with the divine, from which man has temporarily been separated. The body becomes a spindle, heaven and earth are united and the whole of humanity is embraced. The origins of this Dervish ritual are found in Konya in Anatolia, where it emerged from the thirteenth century onwards as a practice of the Mevlevi Order, devotees of the famous mystic Rumi.
Khourchid’s ensemble features two Mevlevi dancers and seven Munshid (religious singers) from the Shâdhiliyya Order. Instrumental accompaniment from the Arab lute oud and frame drums support the fervent singing – an evening that promises a deep breath of spirituality.