Sufi Soul: Part 5

In the final part of this documentary, William Dalrymple visits Sufi orders in Morocco where the music is very ‘loud and exuberant’. Dalrymple calls it ‘a sort of spiritual music jazz’. Here we also see many female musicians who perform healing with music. Dalrymple also visits the Fez Festival of Sacred Music where musicians of all faiths participate. Youssou N’Dour, who also performs at the festival, is interviewed and expresses his belief that Sufi music can correct the present image of Islam.

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Sufi Soul: Part 4

This is part four of the film, Sufi Soul, and William Dalrymple goes to the Pakistani province of Sindh to visit the shrine of Shah Abdul Latif. He was a poet-saint who died in 1752 and to this day his music is played every night at his shrine using a string instrument called the dambar which Shah Abdul Latif invented himself. Dalrymple also speaks to mullahs of a more recent movement influenced by Wahhabi ideas that are anti-music and anti-Sufi. However, a musician he speaks to says that the majority of the people of Pakistan understand their faith through Sufism, through its music, through dance, and true human interaction.

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Sufi Soul: Part 3

Here is Part 3 of this beautiful film. Part 2 was in Turkey, now in Part 3, William Dalrymple visits Sufis in Pakistan where he says the sema is more raw, more elemental. Also showing the Qawwalis of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his nephew, Rahat.

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Sufi Soul: Part 1

A beautiful video on Sufism, its origins and context, by the acclaimed author, William Dalrymple. It contains a description of the meaning of the sema of the whirling dervishes and focuses on the power and transformative effect of music. This is a very informative video and a treat to watch. In this first part, William Dalrymple goes to Syria and then to Konya and speaks with Mercan Dede.

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Strange Weather for July

At last I have a camera. It’s only part of my cell phone but it should take a few decent pictures. I’ve been wanting something like this for a while so that I can put some of my own photos up here to use as the basis of reflections. To me photography is all about a way of seeing – chasing the light – as my Shaykh would say, capturing something special that might otherwise go unnoticed. Not that I’ve done much photography in my life but it is definitely something I feel drawn towards and with today’s digital magic it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the time between hours of sitting and studying and writing essay assignments.

The latest thing I’ve started is The Sufi Books and Music Blog this links to the Sufi Book Store but also has posts about the books on sale and various aspects of Sufism. Pop over and see if there is anything you like and feel free to give me any feedback or suggestions.

Back to the photography, it is very strange weather in the south west of England at the moment. Grey skies, cold wind, and wet. More like October than July. I’m looking out for the sun though so I can rush out and photo some roses before the next cloud passes by. That reminds me of the wonderful Sufi metaphor of the nightingale in love with the rose. I begin to feel the stirrings of a poem.