VOA, Celebration of the life and work of Rumi
NY Magazine, Sep. 2003, Behnam Nateghi, Lang: FA
Deutsche Welle, Ahle-Haqq Beside Beethoven!
Radio Reportage, May 2002, Lang: DE
Radio Farda, Prof. Anne Marie Schimmel
Reportage March. 2002, Shahram Mirian, Lang: FA/DE
BBC Persian, In The World Of Music
Reportage March. 2002, Dr. Mahmud Khoshnam, Lang: FA
In Bonn, Beethoven’s birthplace, a group of the Ahl-e Haqq—a mystical order within Persian Sufism—performed some of their rituals for the public. The program consisted of three parts, the first two being sacred rituals, and the third a traditional performance. The first ritual was a spiritual gathering (jam) that consisted of religious customs like prayer, chanting, and the consumption of blessed food. During the second part, spiritual chants (zekr) were accompanied by an exciting and energetic dance.
The zekr began with the singing of verses that were repeated by a chorus. The singing gradually increased in energy until the members of the chorus reached a special state of ecstasy, free from the constraints of time and space. The exciting tones of the tanbur (lute) and daf (frame drum) galvanized the chorus. All the performers danced and moved to the music, some standing, others remaining seated. The powerful movements and the strong, impressive voices created a stimulating and overwhelming atmosphere. The audience couldn’t stay indifferent either and even began moving themselves! The hall shook as the Europeans in the audience as well as the Persians lost themselves in the music. Some of the performers were moved to tears in their state of ecstasy, while many of the audience couldn’t control their own desire to cry out, sing, and move to the music. As the sounds vibrated throughout the entire body, even Dr. Annemarie Schimmel, the famous expert on Islam, had to move in her seat. This state of spiritual ecstasy continued for several minutes before the atmosphere slowly calmed down again.
The third part, the performance of several traditional Kurdish dances, was of an entirely different nature. The Kurds, both men and women, came onto the stage dressed in multi-colored robes, perhaps a reflection of Persia’s colorful nature. The dances were simple but attractive, and restored a feeling of peace to the hall, much needed after the stormy ecstasy of the music. As the roaring river of zekr changed into the quiet flow of folkloric dances, the evening of Ahl-e Haqq rituals came to a soothing end in Bonn.