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The Music of Islam, Vol. 14: Mystic Music Through the Ages

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 ·

From the surprisingly good and comprehensive series of Islamic music on Celestial Harmonies comes this volume, dealing with mystic musics of Islam, primarily that of the Sufis, and moreover that of Turkey to a large extent. The performers are the Galata Mevlevi house, led by Nail Kesova, also available on volume nine of the series (Whirling Dervishes). The playing is impeccable, with a trio of ney players providing the breathy sound that is so necessary for a good bit of Sufi music. The vocals are also perfectly in place, with an outstanding performance by Kesova. Songs are largely works of poetry, with three from the great Rumi, and a number from other mystics through the ages (as the title would suggest). For a nice look through all aspects of Islamic music, this series is probably the way to go. For a simple look into the Sufist traditions, this album fits right in competition with a number of other ones, but the quality of music here might give it a bit of an edge. ~ Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide.

This collection of Sufi music is superb; as the liner notes explain, Turkish music reflects the history of its relationship with Central Asia, and also the influence of Persian classical form with its elegance and purity, a combination which perhaps to the Western ear might sound extremely foreign. I find this fourteenth CD of the magnificent "Music of Islam" series to be soul-stirring and uplifting. If you enjoy this type of music, it is an ideal recording to minimize the din and sensory overload of the 21st century world. These mystic Sufi hymns are sung with much beauty and piety, and with the backing of classical art music instruments, which are: The nay (oblique flute), with its whispery sound, the tanbur (a long-necked lute), the qanun (a type of zither), the kamanche (fiddle), and kundum (drums). Some of the songs use the poetry of the great Rumi, and others chant the holy names of God; of my very favorites, track 8 is a liturgical piece by Rumi used to begin religious celebrations, and the final track is a recitation that is a fitting ending for this exquisite CD. To quote the liner notes: "The concluding prayer is chanted in a way that blurs the distinction between speech and song", and it is from the Qur'an: "East or West, it all belongs to God; wherever you turn God is there". The musicians are from the Galata Mevlevi Music and Sema Ensemble who are based in Turkey, where this recording was made. The presentation on all 16 CDs (including the sampler) of this Celestial Harmonies series is exceptional. This one has a 11 page booklet with extensive history, detailed explanation of each musical piece, recording info, and more. Total time is 63'56.


[01]. Sem-i ruhuna cismimi pervane dusurdum (My body is a moth drawn to the flame of your spirit)

[02]. Ey ki hezar aferin, bu nice sultan olur (Oh, the Creator of thousands of beings...)

[03]. Bahri umman durriyem, yerim mekanin kandedir (I am an ocean pearl, where is my home?)

[04]. Uyan, ey gozlerim gafletten uyan (Wake up! O my eyes, awaken from sleep)

[05]. Ya Rabbi, Zat'in sirridir bu gulleri handan eden (Oh my Lord, the secret of your Essence...)

[06]. Cun sana gonlum mubtela oldu (Because you have consumed my heart...)

[07]. Allahu ekber, Allahu ekber, la ilahe illallah (Allah is the greatest, there is no god but Allah): Tekbir: Allahu ekber, Allahu ekber, la ilahe illallah (Allah is the greatest, there is no god but Allah)

[08]. Ya, Hazret-i Mevlana, Hakk dost (Oh, our holy master Mevlana, beloved of God...)

[09]. Sultan-i meni, sultan-i meni, ender dil-u can iman-i meni

[10]. Hiz ki imruz cihan an-i mast can-u cihan saki-vu mihman-i mast

[11]. Gelin, gidelim Allah yoluna (Come, let us take God's path)

[12]. Allah emrin tutalim - Rahmet'ine batalim (We will carry out God's will and fall back upon his mercy)

[13]. Alma tenden canimi - gormeden cananimi (Do not take my soul from my body, until I see my beloved)

[14]. Sevelim Hazret-i Mevlana'yi (Let us revere Saint Mevlana)

[15]. Ey, Allahim, beni Sen'den ayirma (Ah, my God, do not separate me from you): Ey, Allahim, beni Send'en ayirma (Ah, my God, do not separate me from you)

[16]. Hor bakma sen topraga (Don't see the earth as despicable...)

[17]. Gormek istersen seni - can icre ara cani (If you seek yourself, look for your self in your soul)

[18]. Velillahil mesriku vel magrib feeynema tuvellu fesemme Vechullah



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