Oruj Guvenc

This splendid album is both devotional and therapeutic. Oruj Guvenc
is not only a shaikh (master) in several Sufi orders and a virtuoso
on three great Middle Eastern instruments — the ney (Persian
flute), oud (lute), and rebab (three-stringed violin) — he’s also
a psychologist who heads the department of clinical music therapy
at Cerrahpasa Medical University in Istanbul, Turkey. For years
he’s used the music of Islamic mysticism to help heal mental
illness, and that probably accounts for the gentleness and intimacy
of these chants and songs that repeat the name of Allah and praise
him. While the chanting at official Sufi ceremonies like the famous
‘Whirling Dervish’ dancing at Konya, Turkey (captured on the
excellent album <strong>Music of the Whirling Dervishes</strong>,
Atlantic, among others) is full-throated and robust, full of cosmic
mystery, Guvenc and company’s renditions emphasize the sweetness
and comfort of the encounter with God. Sometimes Guvenc’s ney
floats over the singing, evoking the tradition of the great
13th-century Sufi saint Jalal-ud-Din Rumi, who likened the flute’s
throaty voice to the breath of life itself. If the best ‘New Age’
music seeks to transcend entertainment in order to have a deeper
effect on the body and mind, then this is superb New Age music from
the Islamic Middle Ages.
<p>
<strong>Listen In: Sample 1,
Track 1, ‘Bismillah ar-Rahman’ (164K .au format)<br />Sample 2,
Track 4, ‘Allah, Allah, Allah’ (141K .au format)</p>

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