Only Breath by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

English version by Coleman Barks
Original Language Persian/Farsi & Turkish

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu
Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion

or cultural system. I am not from the East
or the West, not out of the ocean or up

from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not
composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or in the next,
did not descend from Adam and Eve or any

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless. Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved, have seen the two
worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that
breath breathing human being.

— from The Essential Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks

Black History Month – UK

My five-year-old granddaughter’s school assignment was to write about three famous black women. In recognition of Black History Month, she chose three women whom she admires: Misty Copeland, Peju Alatise, and Maya Angelou.

Picture from exhibition at Sulgar-Buel Gallery, London

Peju Alatise is currently exhibiting at Frieze Sculpture 2022, Regents Park, London. The outdoor art gallery merges art with nature. The New York Times says, “‘Sim and the Yellow Glass Birds’ by the Nigerian writer/artist uses a series of four squares to depict the life of a 9 year old domestic servant in Lagos and how, in her dreams, she can fly.”

Sulger-Buel Gallery, London

BBC interview at Frieze Sculpture 2022

Read more about Peju Alatise: Celebrating the New Power House and Tearing at the Fabric

Bling Bling Is Back!

Joëlle Rolland PhD has organized a summer exhibition at Gallo-Roman Vesunna Museum in Perigueux, France that documents the archaeological trajectory of the Celtic seamless glass bracelet and the journey that discovered the Masaga glassmakers and their long history making seamless glass bracelets. The first exhibition held at  MuséoParc Alésia, France incorporated the story of the Masaga glassmakers of Bida, Nigeria. See Bling Bling in Bida.

English translation follows:

Temporary exhibition: “Bling-Bling, Gallic glass in complete transparency! ”
 
Category: Agenda
 
This event takes place from July 12, 2022 10:00 to August 31, 2022 10:00.
 
Gallic glass in complete transparency! ”
 
From Monday, July 12 to Sunday, October 30, 2022
 
No extra charge to the museum’s entrance fee
 
Bling-bling is not discreet: it must be known, it must be seen. In other words: it must shine, it must slam! For a Gaul, what better way to show her success, above all material, than a glass jewel? In the footsteps of glass workshops, Bling-bling takes you to discover an ancient civilization, finally close to us by its concerns, and questions our own relationship to adornment. Through the study of materials and techniques, with the collaborations of current craftsmen, this archaeological research reveals the production and use of bracelets and glass beads, from the banks of the Nile to the wrists of the Celts.
 
Didactic panels, touch screens, light effects, video, illustrations punctuate the visitor’s journey.
 
The Bling-Bling exhibition, Gallic glass in complete transparency! Is an adaptation, by the Gallo-Roman Museum Vesunna, of the Bling-Bling exhibition, Gallic glass is displayed! Designed by the MuséoParc Alésia in 2019, then taken over by the Archaeological Museum of Val d’Oise in 2020-2021.
 
Curator: Joëlle Rolland
 
Joëlle Rolland, curator of the exhibition, is a doctor of archaeology from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. To understand how an apparent seamless glass bracelet was made, she experimented with techniques with contemporary glass craftsmen and carried out work in ethno-archaeology presented in the exhibition. Now a post-doctoral student, associate researcher at UMR 8315 Trajectoire and UMR 7065 IRAMAT, she continues her research on Celtic glass workshops with excavations in the Czech Republic and continues to document glass ornament manufacturing techniques in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bida in Nigeria.
 

The Lost Legacy of Bida Bikini at the Glasgow COP26 Film Festival

themoonandthesledgehammer.com/cop26-event-5th-7th-november-2021/

The screening at the Glasgow (Unofficial) Film Festival a COP26 event coincidentally coincides with the two-year anniversary of filming The Lost Legacy of Bida Bikini in Bida, Nigeria.

VENUE:   The Revelator, Barclay Curle, 739 South Street, Glasgow, G14 0BX 6-7th November 

The Revelator will host a selection of old and new films from around the world during COP26 on 6-7th November.  
The films look at different visions and versions of sustainability: some feature those who have had to find inventive, sustainable ways of solving problems through necessity, while others show those who have found contentment and joy in life without succumbing to consumer traps.  We will also be featuring works that highlight the dangers of wonderful traditional skills being lost in our modern world which comes at a price we cannot afford.  
Together these films highlight that creative thinking and a will to change can actually change the world.  

Films will be screened FREE of charge (booking is essential through Eventbrite).  Our aim is to allow the public to fully absorb all the potential of sustainability and hope this inspires change.

 GLASGOW’S UNOFFICIAL FILM FESTIVAL OF COP26,   NOV 6th – 7th, 2021

Real change can only come if the will of the people is behind it, pushing politicians from the ground up.  Using Art as inspiration, this rare opportunity to view a collection of films from around the world, curated for the festival,  show different versions and visions of sustainability; some offering inventive solutions, (Dance of Joy) some highlighting the high cost of progress, (Bait, The Raven’s Dance, Slow Glass, The Lost Legacy of Bida Bikini).  Others feature those who have found contentment and their place in life without falling into the consumer trap, (Big Ware, Lambing, The Glory of the Garden).

All films are being shown free of charge thanks to the generosity of the film makers.  Booking is essential and can be done through Eventbrite.  Masks must be worn throughout.

10 Days, 10 Countries, 10 Songs: Day 7

Thank you, Tango, for including Lebanon in your survey of worldwide indigenous music. Fairuz’s ionic voice of longing for what is gone… whether a people, a nation, or a love… is like an arrow to the heart. Thank you for this recognition and to all Lebanese,: we mourn, we commiserate, we want answers, and we want change. -nomad4now

Other Side of the Mountains

I originally had a different song in mind to share today. However, recent events have led me to change my plan slightly. On August 4th, the people of Lebanon experienced a massive tragedy when explosions rocked the capital, Beirut.

As Lebanon grieves their losses and begins the process of picking up the pieces, I wanted to acknowledge their suffering in some small way. I don’t have specialized knowledge of Lebanon or their music, but with a bit of research, I discovered a rich tradition of songs of lament.

The name Fairuz came up as of critical importance. Her song “Li Beirut,” released in 1984, was an homage to a city which, at the time was being torn apart by civil war. Though the recent explosion was a different sort of tragedy, the emotions and imagery of the song make it seem a fitting tribute to a city in mourning.

For…

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10 Days, 10 Countries, 10 Songs: Day 6

Afghanistan…another country that has seen its share of devastation. I did not post the last two days of music out of respect to all Lebanese who mourn their dead and are grappling with the destruction (https://nomad4now.com/2020/08/06/beiruts-devastation/). In 2018, I had the privilege of traveling the length of Tajikistan and Afghanistan on the rugged Pamir Highway along the River Panj,( 1,125 km long) that forms the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border. https://nomad4now.com/2018/07/14/pamir-highway-tajikistan/
-nomad4now

Other Side of the Mountains

If asked to pick a song that represents Afghanistan as a whole, I’d probably choose something by Ahmad Zahir or Farhad Darya. They are the biggest names, though I could list dozens of other outstanding singers. Maybe that’s a subject for a later post.

Today, rather than selecting something popular, I want to highlight a style of music that is not well-known, either in Afghanistan or abroad.

Nuristan is a remote, isolated, and mountainous province in the eastern part of Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan. The people of Nuristan have a unique culture, and even within the province, there are multiple languages and music traditions.

There are many theories about where the people of Nuristan originated. Some say they descended from the soldiers of Alexander the Great. Other scholars disagree. What is clear is that they are ethnically and culturally distinct from the rest of Afghanistan.

A couple of years ago, I…

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Beirut’s Devastation

August 4, 2020, Beirut suffered the largest non-nuclear blast, behind Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that the world has seen in modern history. We are completely heartbroken and devastated to witness Lebanon and its people crippled further amidst a global pandemic and crushing economic crisis.

The Lebanese people are creative and resilient but in the face of such a massive tragedy, support from the global community is necessary. I would, thus, kindly invite you to donate to NGOs whatever small amount you can and to spread the message. Below are a few suggestions of reputable agencies.

Donate to: (compiled by Arab America https://www.arabamerica.com/beirut-explosion-rocks-lebanons-capital-city-what-you-need-to-know/)

US–LA Beirut Sister Cities Relief Fund for AUBMC: GoFundMe Campaign

International–Lebanese Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org.lb
Amel Association: https://amel.org/
International Rescue Committee: https://www.rescue.org/country/lebanon
Lebanon Needs You: https://lebanoncrisis.carrd.co/#

American University of Beirut: https://alumni.aub.edu.lb

10 Days, 10 Countries, 10 Songs: Day 3

Diverse Africa…

Other Side of the Mountains

As a graduate student in ethnomusicology, one of my assigned readings was Seize the Dance! by Michelle Kisliuk (1998).

Kisliuk conducted research among the BaAka people of Central African Republic from 1986-1995, documenting their song, dance, and way of life. I found Kisliuk’s ethnography to be a compelling read, and I deeply enjoyed the music that came with the book.

Frequently referred to as “pygmies” by outsiders, the BaAka have faced widespread persecution and forcible removal from their ancestral lands.

For further reading, here is an interesting article on the challenges these people face:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/the-pygmies-plight-93401092/

Today I am sharing an example of BaAka music. This polyphonic style of singing is known as “hocketing.” One singer begins a melody, then leaves a gap which other singers take up to complete the phrase.

Cover Image from Wikimedia Commons:

JMGRACIA100 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

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10 Days, 10 Countries, 10 Songs: Day 1

This blogger spent much of his childhood in Afghanistan and Central Asia. I admire his insights into the area and hope to reblog his ’10 countries’ post each day. L.

Other Side of the Mountains

As an ethnomusicologist, one of the great joys of my life is discovering new artists performing music in different styles.

I want to share some of that joy with our readers, so each day for the next ten days, I will be posting a link to a song from a different country.

Today’s song is from Pakistan, a country near and dear to my heart.

It is by the legendary Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (13 October 1948 – 16 August 1997). Known for his extraordinary vocal range, Khan is remembered as the king of qawwali, a form of Sufi devotional music.

In his lifetime, Khan obtained fame both in Pakistan and worldwide.

Enjoy!

Cover Image from Wikimedia Commons:

Ramkishan950 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

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