Mysticism of Sound in New York City, April 22


Musicians, Poets and Mystics Present an Evening of Ragas, Solo and Chamber Music, Poetry and Readings from the Writings of Great Sufi Masters. International performing artists for this event include:
Michael Harrison, Hidayat Inayat-Khan, Shabda Kahn, Julia Khadija Goforth and Talia Toni Marcus.

New York, NY (March 17, 2005)— On Friday, April 22, 2005 at 7:30 PM Saint Peter’s Church on Lexington and 54th street will host an extraordinary evening of performances by musicians, poets and mystics. “Mysticism of Sound” is the focus and title of this event. Mystics of all ages universally love music. Sufis especially have taken music as a source of their meditation. Mystical expression of inner states of consciousness through music allows communion through tuning to unite performer, instrument and audience.

Shabda Kahn and Michael Harrison will open the evening program singing Indian Ragas. Both Harrison and Kahn are accomplished Raga musicians that teach and perform this ancient style of singing. Shabda Kahn has been a Sufi disciple since 1969. He is a direct disciple of Murshid Samuel Lewis (Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti) and worked closely with the great American mystic Joe Miller. Shabda is currently the Pir (Spiritual Director) of the Sufi Ruhaniat International and the Director of the Chisti Sabri School of Music. Shabda spent 24 years (since 1972) developing as a vocalist under the guidance of the late Pandit Pran Nath, the master North Indian classical vocalist, who planted the 800 year old oral transmission of Chisti Sufi vocal music in the Western world. He is also a disciple of the illustrious Tibetan Buddhist Master, the 12th Tai Situpa Rinpoche.

Michael Harrison is an internationally acclaimed composer of “just intonation” piano music who performs ragas as well as concerts of his piano compositions. He studied with the late Pandit Pran Nath from 1978 to 1996 and continues his studies today with master vocalist Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan. Michael teaches and performs concerts of North Indian classical music throughout the United States and India with Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan, Terry Riley, Shabda Kahn, Steve Gorn, and as a soloist.

As a groundbreaking composer/pianist Harrison has developed one of the most distinctive musical styles of our time. He will also present a 45-minute version of his 95-minute work “Revelation” using a contemporary “just intonation” tuning that he invented. Working with ancient principles of harmonic resonance, Harrison’s music is an eclectic synthesis of North Indian and Western classical music, minimalism, and modal jazz. Through his expertise in alternate tuning systems and North Indian ragas, combined with a deep understanding of Indian and Middle Eastern rhythms, and his innate gift for melodic composition, he has created a revolutionary new sound for the piano. Harrison’s work Revelation was recently hailed by Stuart Isacoff of the New York Sun, and will be the co-subject of an upcoming feature article in the New Yorker by music writer Alex Ross.

The evening’s program will also feature Hidayat Inayat-Khan, son of the Indian mystic and musician Hazrat Inayat Khan, introducing his composition “La Monotonia.”

“La Monotonia” (opus 13) describes the various episodes of a meditative invocation, starting with a call to prayer (played by the altos and followed by the prayer-walk scored on a rhythmic pattern), all of which is part of the A-section of this slow movement, composed according to the principles of the classical “Lied-form.” The B-section is the actual prayer aspect with various thematic elements coming and going continuously in a fugue style while sticking all the way through to the monotonous formula of the Indian Raga Bhairavi, where no harmonic modulation prevails. This B-section culminates into an apassionata representing “victory” over the self, the atmosphere of which is emphasized by the classical western harmonic chords sounding in a full expressive outburst. The closing is a return to the A-section of the first bars, followed by a coda, all of which is expressive of the inner meditative call. (Hidayat’s great grandfather Mawlabakhsh Khan founded the first Academy of Music in India, invented the music notation system bearing his name and restored the fundamentals of Indian classical traditions in all fields of music).

Julia Khadija Goforth will present the poetry of Sufi Samuel Lewis “God’s Call” that will be read by Monick Mervilus David and Eddie Greenberg. Murshid Samuel L. Lewis, aka Murshid S.A.M. (Sufi Ahmed Murad), (dubbed ‘Sufi Sam’ by newspaper columnists in San Francisco in the 1960’s), was a forerunner of universal religion and unitive mystical experience. His poetry “God Calls” will be shared with dervish dancers turning towards their heart, becoming a torch of love in the presence of the One. Lewis died in 1971.