When the Europeans introduced electric lighting into newly occupied Tangier, a shaykh remarked: 'If these people were obliged to pray five times a day, they would have no time for childishness!' There is more in this observation than meets the eye.That pithy observation comes from Titus Burckhardt's inspirational book Fez, City of Islam. Among the works performed in recent years at the Fez sacred music festival have been Jordi Savall's Jerusalem and Abed Azrié's Gospel of John. I took the photo above in Morocco, but not in Tangier or Fez; it is the souk in Essaouira at the time of jum'ah, the Friday midday prayer that is obligatory for all male adult Muslims. French gypsy musician Titi Robin, 'among us there are no castes', played at the 2010 Essaouira Gnawa festival to rave reviews. The adhān, the Islamic call to prayer, features in Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov's ...hold me, neighbour, in this storm... on the Kronos Quatet's Floodplain CD which received a heads up in Is it me or the music? On the same disc is Israeli composer Betty Olivero's Neharót Neharót which I wrote about in ECM in focus and which is performed in by the Britten Sinfonia in today's (Aug 21) midday (shame it is not Friday) BBC Prom. Ney player Ercan Irmak performance of the tekbir, the Turkish call to prayer, received an honourable mention in Searching for the Sufi soul. And staying with Sufism in Avoid three kinds of master I wrote that Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens, who guested with Jimi Hendrix in Castles made of sand,) miraculously captures the mystery of Islam in his setting of the adhān on his Footsteps in the Light CD and went on to link Stockhausen to Sufism via trumpeter Markus Stockhausen (son of Karlheinz) who plays on Dhafer Youssef's genre-bending Electric Sufi album. You can also hear the adhān on another genre bending album, Mercan Dede's Seyahatname, which mixes Sufi sounds with dance beats and ambient electronic music. Titi Robin, Markus Stockhausen and others appear in my wide ranging Sounds of Sufism podcast which you can read about here and listen to here.
Now on Facebook and Twitter @overgrownpath. Photo is (c) On An Overgrown Path 2010. Titus Burckhardt's Fez, City of Islam (ISBN 0946621179) was bought at retail. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk