Over the next several days, ordinary Londoners can step out of their busy work days and slip into the serenity of the Ismaili Centre, to be whisked away by the sounds of [email protected] — inspired by the Silk Road.
Circling the fountain within the geometric embrace of the lobby, musicians from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa will bring to life a range of compositions on traditional and contemporary instruments. The lunchtime musical interludes, which start at 1:00 PM each day, are part of the seventh annual Nour Festival of Arts, taking place in venues across the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea this autumn.
“This is such a wonderful way to spend a lunchtime,” says Shafin Jivraj, a visitor to [email protected]. “It's so rejuvenating to tune out the outside world and tune in to some relaxing music, whilst at the same time experiencing differing cultures.”
The rich musical journey across Asia features performances by Nash Meghji, who will treat the audience to traditional performances on the sitar, and Duri Lalani on the rubab, a lute-like musical instrument originating from central Afghanistan.
Tara Jaff, an Iraqi Kurdish musician will perform on the Celtic harp, bringing a contemporary expression to an ancient form of music and song. Jaff has performed widely mainly as a solo artist and collaborated with a wide range of artists including film-makers, poets and painters.
Olcay Bayir, an impressive artist on London’s global music scene, will perform traditional music from the western borders of Asia and the Mediterranean coast, including Albanian, Armenian, Balkan, and Kurdish songs.
The week will close with a music and dance performance by the London Uyghur Ensemble — a United Kingdom-based troup dedicated to the traditional and popular music of the Turkic ethnic community of Central Asia. The ensemble made their debut at the London South Bank Sanctuary festival for refugee music in 2005. Performances of the maqām traditions of the Islamic world with its distinctive rhythms and ecstatic poetry, is deeply imbued with the Sufi ethos.
The Ismaili Centre has been a partner in the Nour Festival for several years. Illuminating the best in contemporary Middle Eastern and North African arts and culture, the annual festival transports local, national and international visitors on an unforgettable journey, providing insights into the diverse makeup of the Middle East and North Africa today. While non-political and non-religious in nature, the Nour Festival recognises that both can inspire great art and challenging stereotypes about the region and its peoples through cultural expression.
This year, the festival comprises 84 individual performances over more than 40 events held across 16 venues with 28 partners. Artists from 15 countries are presenting visual arts, music, poetry, theatre, film, dance, and literature. The events in the Nour Festival programme are accompanied by a broad and engaging Creative Learning Programme, featuring a series of exciting projects and activities with local community groups and schools: from fan design to kite-making, Arabic typography to the Arabian Nights.
[email protected] continues at the Ismaili Centre, London from Monday, 31 October to Friday, 4 November, 1:00 – 1:45 PM. Doors open at 12:45.
Other upcoming events at the Ismaili Centre London include:
My Sweet Home performed by the Silk Road Rising Theatre Company, brought to London by the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto and the Ismaili Centre London. Silk Road Rising is a creative response to the attacks of 11 September 2001, inspiring artists to promote dialogue and heal rifts through the transformative power of theatre.
Wednesday, 2 November, 20:30 – 21:40 | Thursday, 3 November, 19:40 – 22:00.
Joseph Tawadros, one of the world’s leading oud performers and composers. Tawadros dazzles audiences with his brilliant technique, passionate musicianship and joyous style of performance. Joseph’s performance features some of his recent project ‘The Prophet’ inspired by the poetry of Kahlil Gibran, among others.
Saturday, 5 November, 20:15 – 22:00.
The Writing of Art, a glimpse into contemporary art approaches influenced by traditional arts based on Persian and Arabic script, bringing together the work of Graham Day, Hanieh Delecroix, Parastou Forouhar, Farnaz Jahanbin and Katayoun Rouhi.
Runs until Saturday, 5 November, 11:00 – 17:00.