This year’s Festival was delicious and filling. While there were the inevitable small glitches, it went extremely well and I’m looking-forward to collaborating on next year’s.
If anyone has pictures, contact me privately with them and I’ll post them here.
Summer goes by quickly, and the 2018 Northwest Rumi Festival is approaching fast!
Two messages I’d like to share about this year’s gathering:
Featured Musical Guests: Navaz
Our sister Baqia suggested this group, and when I checked out their music (accessible on YouTube , in many flavors), I realized instantly what a perfect fit they’d be for the festival. After a number of email and phone exchanges, this week I had the great pleasure of spending time with Neda Jalali and Eric Tompkins, the principal members, when they came down from Prince George to rehearse with the Seattle area musicians who will accompany them at our concert.
Engaging in conversations and making zikr with them was delightful, and listening to their CDs has been a joy. Neda, a wonderful Persian vocalist, and Eric, playing guitar and collaborating with her on musical compositions, create a unique East/West blend, often taking Rumi’s lyrics as a starting place. I know that they will add something very special to the festival mix.
We hear your feedback: More Mevlana!
We were grateful to receive evaluation forms from a substantial number of participants in the 2017 festival. We were especially pleased by the overwhelmingly positive responses to the event.
Our feeling has been that Rumi’s teachings and presence are inseparable from contemporary Sufism as it manifests in each of our circles—whether or not he and his poetry are explicitly referenced. However, nearly one third of those who gave us feedback shared that they would have liked to experience “more Rumi!”
In my personal story of connecting to the path, Rumi’s poetry played a crucial role… I know that I’m not alone in that. We’re working to make this year’s festival much more focused on the words and teachings of this Sultan of Ashk!
My profound appreciation for my colleagues in the organizing non-committee. We pulled it off — brilliantly — and we created something real and it touched lives.
As we started to plan this year’s Rumi Festival, I immediately thought of inviting Jessika Kenney and Eyvind Kang to perform, and was overjoyed when they accepted our invitation.
Currently living in the LA area, Seattle locals for many years before that, they are gifted exponents of classical Persian music, among other forms. This stirring music is deeply interwoven with Persian mystical poetry, especially the work of Hafiz and Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi.
I discovered Jessika at her remarkable concert appearances with her teacher Hossein Omoumi; I’d known of Eyvind through his wide-ranging work as a violist with Bill Frisell, Laurie Anderson, and other artists. When I caught a Follklife performance by local Kurdish-Persian ensemble Kamand featuring Jessika, I was surprised to find Eyvind accompanying the group, playing the beautiful and subtle setar. Later I was transported by Jessika and Eyvind’s contemporary, Persian-inflected performance art at the Frye Art Museum.
Exploring the work of these two, individually and together, I’ve been impressed by their verve, versatility, discipline, and creativity. Meeting them personally at community events, I’ve experienced them as warm and unassuming dervishes. They are outstanding contributors to an emerging musical/spiritual culture where labels and boundaries melt in the fire of love.