Buy from
Celestial Harmonies
US $25
The Music of Islam Sampler (13159). In seiner aufwendigen Forschungsarbeit folgt David Parsons den vielfältigen Spuren der heutigen islamischen Musik zurück bis zu den Wurzeln. Das Ergebnis ist eine Produktion, die international Aufsehen erregte und 1998 den Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik erhielt: Auf insgesamt 17 CDs spielen und singen Gnawas und Derwische, Muezzins und Volksmusiker. Von Indonesien und Pakistan bis Tunesien und Südspanien reicht das geografische Spektrum, über 12 Jahrhunderte das historische. Zu jeder CD gibt es ein sehr informatives, etwa 50-seitiges Begleitheft (in englisch). Man kann die CDs einzeln oder als Gesamtpaket in einer Holzbox erwerben. Hier die Zusammenfassung der ganzen Serie. Ausgezeichneter Einstieg.

the project

Ten years in the making, The Music of Islam series recorded in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran and Qatar represents the most comprehensive sound documentation available to Westerners today, of a world religion dating back to 1/622. Although governed by strict rules for fourteen centuries, contact with other cultures has radically affected Islamic music throughout history. As the world enters the XV/21st century the timing of this collection serves an even larger purpose, documenting the traditions that have survived and will continue to survive for centuries to come. Today, one fifth of the world's population, one billion people, are Muslims, occupying a large territory stretching from the Atlantic shore of north and west Africa, through west, central, and south Asia to island southeast Asia, and attracting an increasing following in India, western Europe, north America, east Asia, and southern Africa. This is a global presence which cannot be ignored.

'Aissaoua Sufi Ceremony, the first of three volumes in this series recorded in Morocco, captures the public performance of 'Aissaoua rituals, called hadra. 'Aissaoua is the brotherhood comprised of followers of one of Morocco's most well–known and highly regarded spiritual leaders, Shaykh 'Abd Allah Sidi Muhammad Ben 'Aisa as-Sufiani al-Mukhtari (870/1465-933/1526). 'Aissaoua performances work on several levels: for members of the brotherhood, they form part of their spiritual training; for ceremony sponsors they serve to bless the event; and for the individual pilgrim or participant, the ritual provides access to the tangible baraka (blessing) of the Shaykh (Arabic Sheikh), which can be activated for purposes of healing and guidance. The trance possession which occurs during the hadra is the most dramatic manifestation of this therapeutic function of the performance. The baraka which effects these transformations is activated and brought into the hadra by means of recitations, singing and music, all of which is traditionally featured on this double length recording. Perhaps Parsons has captured even more than the Islamic music represented here, like, the transcendence of baraka from Shaykh ben 'Aisa for all who listen.

the artists

Produced and recorded by David Parsons, this volume presents the hadra of an 'Aissaoua team held at a house deep in the medina—the old section of Marrakesh, Morocco.

Recording conditions for this volume in The Music of Islam series were unique and challenging. For instance, the microphone had to be taped to an orange tree and oftentimes covered with a white cloth as its black color was not allowed to be seen during the ceremony. The production team was also restricted from wearing any black clothing.

While listening to this recording, shifts in the stereo imaging and balance can be detected as the participants moved around the courtyard. Rather than record the musicians in an artificial setting, Parsons wanted to catch the music live with an audience, including people going into trances. This setting was much more conducive to the spirit of the music, which is played to serve the dual purpose of devotion for members of the brotherhood and healing for members of the assembly.


  Disk 1:  
1 DIKR (PART 1) 11'21"
2 DIKR (PART 2) 9'07"
3 FATHA 0'31"
4 DIKR (PART 3) 8'50"
6 'ADA (PART 1) 17'49"
7 'ADA (PART 2) 7'31"
  Total Time: 56'14"
  Disk 2:  
  Total Time: 66'28"