EDMONTON, Oct. 18 /CNW Telbec/ – A MYSTICAL JOURNEY: Sufi Music and other Expressions of Devotion from the Muslim World, brought its world premiere tour to Edmonton last night, in the presence of Prince Hussain and Princess Khaliya Aga Khan. Over 60 artists and musicians from diverse Muslim countries including Algeria, Bosnia, Pakistan, Iran, India and Syria, took audiences on an entertaining and enlightening musical journey of the mind, body and soul.
The nine groups individually performed qawalli’s, ilahis, kalams, dhikr and contemporary songs, with dance performances by whirling Sufis, all of which contributed towards a uniquely rich performance. Some 1700 people attended the sold-out performance at Edmonton’s Winspear Theatre.
During the pre-event gala, City of Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel formally presented Prince Hussain with a Proclamation recognizing him as an Ambassador of the city of Edmonton. Mayor Mandel acknowledged Prince Hussain’s involvement with various projects under the Aga Khan Development Network and said that the institution’s work and values are “an example for all Edmontonians to follow”.
Speaking at the Performance, Mohamed Manji, President of the Aga Khan Council for Canada, noted the appropriateness of this event making its world premiere in Canada. “Canada has promoted pluralism among its citizens by welcoming people and traditions from all parts of the world,” he said. “We, as Canadians, are encouraged to celebrate our culture and tradition as part of the diverse social fabric of this country. It is this model of diversity, that His Highness the Aga Khan has called “Canada’s gift to the world”.
Kenan Hadzovinc of the Bosnian Choir, Hazreti Hamza, commenting about the tour said “In current times – Islam has a poor image and these types of international initiatives expressing the faith through music and dance help to change stereo-types and show the diversity that exists within the Muslim world”
Music and musicians play a vital role throughout the Muslim world. From Indonesia through South and Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, music serves not only as entertainment for various Muslim communities, but also as a way to express devotion and reinforce common values and traditions. “A Mystical Journey” focuses on music and devotional expressions, however this diversity can be found in all aspects of life and thought throughout the Muslim world.
“A Mystical Journey” continues its Canadian Tour with additional performances in Calgary (October 20), Toronto (November 4) and Montreal (November 5).
The performance is an international initiative commemorating the Golden Jubilee of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan as the Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.
The Ismaili Muslims are a community of ethnically and culturally diverse peoples living in over 25 countries around the world, united in their allegiance to the Aga Khan as the 49th hereditary Imam and direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family).