Al Gromer Khan: Sufi
One feels drawn to certain types of persons with certain preferences: rose oil from exquisite flasks, and sandalwood oil, types of sound, the sky on 'wide open sky days'. One tries to make spiritual sense of the bizarre cultural setting that one finds oneself in.
One draws inspiration from the East, knowing well that the East is more than ready to sell out. One emotionally connects with the former periods of Islam, feels at home in and inspired by the intricacies of Persian and Arabic art and design and irresistibly drawn to the sufis, the ecstatic freewheelers.
The intense poetry of longing of the sufi will somehow find its way, independently from, and transcending- or should I say: 'trance-scending' tradition, culture, and color of skin. Why is it that, when thinking of the great saints of India like Zipra Baba of Nasirabad, Meher Baba, Swami Samarth, Nityananda of Ganeshpuri, Sai Baba of Shirdi, Nizam ud-din Auliya, one never even begins to think of their respective original religion? How many of those giants of spirituality, would you say, were Muslims? Does it matter? No. Why not try and connect with them directly, without concerning ourselves with their original religious backgrounds?
The one person to translate music to a higher and universal plane and who bewitched my life so utterly with the high and intricate poetry inside music is sitar player Ustad Vilayat Khan; and when I spoke to him about sufism, he said, "my religion is music." This turn of phrase wasn't entirely new, but in the case of Vilayat Khan it gained new meaning: he managed to demonstrate how just a small fragment of music can open a door to another reality, turning it into a base for sadhana. That's the kind of sufism I like: one that works from direct and authentic experience.
A Gromer Khan is a German-born sitar master with eleven best-selling albums to his credit; his unique style of performance, selfclescribed as Paisley Music - traditional Indian melodies intertwined with electronic ambient keyboards has won him international acclaim.
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Thornton and Ramzy: Music for Belly Dance
With Bellydancing fast becoming a popular form of dance experience and self-expression, the leading teacher and practitioner, Amira, has carefully selected tracks from the world renowned stars of Egyptian music, Phil Thornton and Hossam Ramzy. Both artists fuse modern and traditional eastern instrumentation into musical scores that define the mood, tempo and culture of this distinctive genre. From the light, floating melodies, to exuberant earthy percussion, these masterful arrangements set the tone for both solo practice and group performance. This collection features tracks from the albums Eternal Egypt, Immortal Egypt and Enchanted Egypt.
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