Welcome to the last week of the A-Z Challenge! Home stretch! The Week of the Tough Cookies - from U to Z one after another, relentless! Personally, it's going to be an intense week - there is also a local poetry event on the 29th, and I'm participating...what? only the blog was supposed to be poetry-free in April, offline it's the same old same old...can't banish poetry from real life, are you kidding me? :) anyways time for
|which is for|
There are many sects within Islam, and Sufism is a mystical, introspective sect. Some of the Sufis whirl as a spiritual act of submission, they are known as the whirling dervishes. In Egypt, the Sufi whirling has evolved in a particular trajectory all its own. Some dance scholars feel that they blend remnants of ancient Egyptian ritual dances and folk traditions with the Sufi performance. Also, the Egyptian Sufis dress in colourful skirts, and the word for the skirt gives the name to the performance – Tanoura.
Vibrant skirts! they give the name to the performance. The colours
represent the various Sufi orders. Each skirt weighs around 5 kg.
A dervish may wear two skirts for the whirling ceremony.
Starts off with individual musicians introducing their instruments through
solo recitals. Here finger cymbals called 'sagat' are being played.
The philosophy of the performance is based on the belief that the world moves in circles, begins and comes back to the same point, and therefore the Sufis spin, mimicking that motion. They whirl anticlockwise, as pilgrims do in the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine.
|The 'sagat' 'speaks' to the 'darbouka' in a call-and-response duet, |
the finger cymbals ask a question and the drum answers.
|Apart from the saqat and darbouka, reed flutes (ney) and |
lutes (rabab) are the other instruments accompanying.
The Tanoura performance is split in three parts. The first is a warm up - an introduction to the various musical instruments accompanying the Sufis, followed by the presentation performance, more spiritual in its execution. And the last part is pure magic, the music revs up, three dancers come on stage, the whole atmosphere is electrifying.
|The solo performer discards a black jacket, whirls with |
these 'mute' tambourines, and by the end has discarded
both the skirts he started off with.
Each action, each gesture of the arm and hand, each discarded item – jacket or skirt or the tambourine or the banner that the main performer holds, has a spiritual significance.
But this be the thing, you don’t have to know the least bit about them, or about Sufism, or spirituality or anything, to enjoy this colourful, lively, folksy, quasi-religious and amazing performing art!
A thumping good time guaranteed, it'll make you want to stand up and take a few twirls yourself. Just go watch it if you are in Cairo.
Traditionally, the Tanoura is performed at Moulids, the celebration
of a Sufi Saint's Day,
Three performers set the stage alight with their energy, vibrancy
|While the solo Tanoura is more about spirituality this is pure |
showmanship and consummate skill.
The skirt is spun vertically, horizontally,
and on every possible plane.
|This part lasts for around 45 minutes, roughly |
the same as the first.
And the final step, the skirt is loosened and removed. Show over!
And here is a number called El Tanoura – the skirt, by popular singer Fares Karam from Lebanon. Arab pop numbers make great music for dancing along. I’m not so sure I’m quite comfortable with the message of the video/lyrics, uff, uff, uff!! When will media portrayals of women stop being all about their skirt lengths and see-through Tops, how much more Time will it freaking Take?? but let’s leave the heavy stuff out and just enjoy the beats.
Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2017