Art And Culture

Glorifying the Prophet at ‘Unity’ Performance

Glorifying the Prophet at ‘Unity’ PerformanceGlorifying the Prophet at ‘Unity’ Performance

A joint performance ‘Unity’ was organized by 15 music groups including eight Iranian ethnic ensembles and seven bands from Muslim countries on the eve of the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) at Bahman Cultural Center in Tehran.

The Dec. 28 performance was a fitting conclusion for the first International Music Festival of ‘Muhammad, the Prophet of Kindness’, which aimed at reinforcing unity among all Muslims of the world, especially Shias and Sunnis.

Babak Raboukheh, director of the festival and composer/conductor of the ‘Unity’ piece did a great job in coordinating the musicians from different backgrounds and with various musical expertise as they played and sang a long piece (10 minutes) in praise of the prophet.

Local and foreign musicians and singers, each the best of folk, qawwali and mugham music in their respective regions and countries came from Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Tajikistan, Iraq, Georgia, Morocco and from eight Iranian provinces.

They played a wide range of instruments including the qopuz, rubab, kamancheh, dotar, baglamas and tanbur (string instruments), daf, tabla, naghara, dohol and tonbak (percussion instruments) and sorna and balaban (wind instruments) in harmony while singers sang in different languages, namely Turkish, Arabic, Georgian, Pashto and various Persian dialects.

“Oh Muhammad” was the refrain which all the 15 singers sang in unison several times, and was the most exciting part of the performance.

The huge magnificent hall (one of the largest in Tehran housing over 1500 people) was packed with enthusiasts who gave a big hand to the performers. Participants of the 29th International Islamic Unity Conference and members of The World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought were also present.

Qawwali music was performed by Afghanistan’s Chishtiya Ensemble and was followed by commemorating the late Indian musician Bismillah Khan and the late Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the most prominent figures in qawwali music.

  Devotional Music

Qawwali is a form of devotional music popular in South Asia which stretches back more than 700 years. Enriched by literary terms and musical tunes, the music style is one the most popular forms of traditional music in India and Pakistan.

The songs are centered on divine issues, praising God, the prophet of Islam and all the righteous.

Another part of the closing ceremony was dedicated to honoring two notable musicians, one in classic and the other in folk music.

Receiving his commendation plaque, the Christian composer and conductor Loris Cheknavarian, 78, said, “Tomorrow (Dec. 29) is the birth anniversary of the prophet of hope and love; I am Armenian but I love Iran wholeheartedly. I grew up among Muslims and studied Islamic traditions and customs which I adore.”

Pointing to the proximity of the birthdays of Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) this year, he said, “It is a wonderful night and I congratulate you all on these happy occasions.”

He noted that music is an important element in uniting people of different religions as “it is the language of God and does not need any interpreter.”

Osman Mohammad-Parast, 87, a great master of dotar from Khorasan Razavi Province, was another honoree of the night. He went on the stage amongst the audiences’ warm applause and said, “I have traveled around the world but nowhere have I seen generous and kind-hearted people like Iranians. I ask for nothing but compassion”.

He said that he has never played music for money but has contributed in making several schools by playing the dotar.

Mohammad-Parast played the very famous ethnic song ‘Navaee’, which has been performed by many traditional and folklore singers and is popular among Iranians.

The four-day festival was organized by the Art and Cultural Organization of Tehran Municipality.