Spotlight #1: Fes Sacred Music Festival 2009

In the lead up to the Sacred Music Festival, The View from Fez will spotlight the various acts that are expected to appear. Some of these may change as the programme is refined.

Spotlight #1: Ziya Azazi

Sunday May 31. Bab Makina 20h30

1st part: The Whirling Dervishes of Konya (Turkey)

From Eternity to Modernity

2nd part: Ziya Azazi (Turkey)

Icons: Contemporary Dervish Dance

Ziya Azazi promises to be one of the Festival highlights. The last couple of years has seen some creative programming that offers a fusion of styles and cultural diversity. We have previously seen the blending of gospel and Qawwali, and also the Byzantine choir from Athens and the Al Kindi Ensemble from Damascus. With the programming of the whirling dervishes and Ziya Azazi we have a fusion of the old and the modern, of the traditional and the contemporary. The first part of the evening will be the traditional Whirling Dervishes.

With a worldwide reputation, the Whirling Dervishes of Konya have been blessed to live in the city where the great Sufi tradition was born in the 13th century. These musicians, singers and dancers (Semazens) have for about twenty years now represented one of the most interesting aspects of the mystical culture of Turkey. The Sema - the whirling dance - and the Zikr - the hymns sung by the sacred choir - are connected to each other, a spiritual ambience that leads the Dervish enter a mystical universe.

Ziya Azazi was born in 1969 in Antakya, Turkey.

In 1986, he moved to Istanbul where he graduated as a mining engineer. in the years 1989 - 1992 he taught himself gymnastics. between 1990 and 1994 he was engaged in the “state theatre of Istanbul” and made there his first choreographic works.

In 1994, he moved to Vienna where he continued his work in contemporary dance and gymnastics.

In 1999 he won the dance scholarship of the summer dance week (danceweb), including an honourable mention from the European jury as “the most outstanding dancer of the year for Austria”. he received this prize after performing his full evening solo "unterwegs tabula rasa".

Since 1999 he is studying the traditional dance of the sufis (dervish whirlers) and is choreographing his own interpretations of this dance as seen in his solos “work in progress I & II", “dervish in progress” and “`azab”.

Ziya Azazi has performed in many European countries in addition to Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Korea, Thailand, Tunis, Turkey, the USA and Venezuela.

Al Kindi Dervishes from 2008 Festival
(photo credit; Sandy McCutcheon)

Spotlight #2: Fez Sacred Music Festival 2009

Fez Sacred Music Festival 2009: Ticket collection service.