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Notes by Erkan Alkis

Dervish Sufi Chants & Songs

A Journey into the Ecstasy of Life

A Dervish is simply a person dedicated to following his heart and living his life for the Love of the Creator alone. Dervish means threshold, the one who helps people step over the threshold and enter through the doors of Love. It also means being humble and helping others in the journey to their destination. Dervish music reflects both the physical and spiritual journey of the mind and body. Mantric chanting is also a crucial part of Sufi meditation called zikir and literally means rememberance, recollection and calling the name of God. "God is Most Great" (Allahu Akbar), is repeated over and over, often linked with bodily movement or breathing. Repetition of rhythm and melody creates a meditational space that, when accompanied by chanting, becomes the central point of Sufi music. Sound is universal. Every person hears, sleeps and is born with the sound of the heartbeat. The sound of the bender (framed drum) is close to the sound of the heart, whose beat continuously measures life. human breathing becomes musical when it is made conscious, invoking God's beautiful names. The music of the zikir (dervish ceremony of rememberence) is symbolic of the voice of creation, symbolized by chanting and whispering Allah repeatedly.

As described in Holy Qur'an, at the beginning there was nothing, then God said "Be" and everything came into existence. Sufis believe that everything was created by sound. Sound is simply a vibration, as is Life itself. When our body and soul are harmonized with the vibration of the universe, then we are truly filled with the overwhelming, positive energy - Peace. The beat of the bender represents the importance of Life, while the dervish's voice brings the influence of the spiritual world into Life. The Sufi dervish focuses on the absolute nature of the world which is continually created and dies in every breath we take. Physical and spiritual bodies become one single source of self. Awareness of the Absolute moves back and forth in a pattern similar to the rhythmic waves of the breath in meditation. This leaves one in harmony with the movement from existence to non-existence with every breath he takes.

Sufi musicians sing beautiful gazels (vocal improvisations) about their master's life and death as well as prayers for inner peace, happiness and love. In Sufi belief, death is regarded as waking from a dream. The Sufi master, Mevlana Jeladdini Rumi, considered the occasion of death to be his marriage night with God/Allah - the night that lover and beloved became one.

The recording was made on June 22, 2003 in Konya, Turkey by Lawrence Millard.

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