Tag Archives spring-of-culture

Scratching head and wondering if that is Art.

Scratching head and wondering if that is Art.

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Help. I’m confused. Is this really art?

This is an honest question. I have no answer other than being left wondering what is art in general, and if this “work” and others like it actually lowers the bar of what should be regarded as art.

To me, it a badly shot and edited video that would not have gain more than a few views on YouTube, yet, a whole section of Alrewaq – a well known and respected gallery – has been dedicated to it. The other parts of this “installation” is a few architectural and simple drawings of the steps in addition to a few photographs. Nothing that would draw people’s attention in a normal sense.

So what is it that classified this “work” as one of art?

Someone please educate me.


Soufi Music by Konya Turkish Ensemble

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I’ve not experienced Soufi music nor did I attend any of the Whirling Dervishes before the performance the Konya Turkish Ensemble gave on March 30th at the Cultural Hall as part of the recently concluded annual Spring of Culture. I was in for a nice – and spiritually uplifting – surprise.

The unfortunately incident in which a misguided soul barged into a mosque on the Bahraini-Saudi Causeway and proceeded to serenade humourless security staff (and some worshippers I should think) reminded me that I had recorded the Turkish Soufis on my mobile phone and I had them unprocessed and untouched on my computer.

I broke out Audacity and cropped the three recordings into size, cleaned them up a bit and am presenting them to you as a gift. I hope that you will excuse the wanting quality of the clips and that you will understand that I am providing them here to enthuse you enough to go out and buy their and other Soufi music CDs – if they are available – or even demonstrate to you that Islam comes in various flavours, and song worship is in fact one recognised form.

[MYPLAYLIST=1] download the mp3 parts: [one] • [two] • [three]

The rituals of the Whirling Dervishes are among the most enduring and exquisite ceremonies of spirituality. The ritual whirling, still practiced today by the dervishes of the Melevi order, is an act of love and a drama of faith. Sufi music is closely connected with religious music and the lyrics are mainly taken from poems of Mevlana Celaleddini Rumi. The Konya Turkish Sufi Music Ensemble was formed in 1990 by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey and mainly performs during annual commemorations of Mevlana but also perform Sufi music and Sema rituals in Konya throughout the year. The forty member Ensemble is headed by Omer Faruk Belviranli
(vocal) and its art director is Yusuf Kayya (nay). The Ensemble plays an important role for the promotion of Turkish culture around the world.

Have a wonderful and peaceful evening my friends.


ZimSculpt is back in Bahrain!

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Zimbabwean sculptures in Bahrain

Frances and I enjoyed visiting the Zimbabwean Sculpture exhibition at Al Bareh Gallery a couple of nights ago, this time they have some 40 sculptures and I would like to own each and every one of them. Oh to be a millionaire! These are the times that give you the impetus to work harder so that you too can afford to acquire works of art to enjoy and share your home with.

We are fortunate enough to have bought a few pieces the last time they came to town, we have had those pieces for 2 years in our home and I frankly cannot imagine us being without them. They have become a part of our family.

Well, although we determined not to buy anything this time around, I fell in love with a mermaid and I just had to have her!

I would have dearly loved to buy a few other pieces, alas, I have to remind myself (rather sternly) that I do have a lot of expenditures this month that take precedence and I shall have to just remember them through the various pictures I have taken of them, and occasionally visit their website to remind myself of their beauty.

The exhibit is continuing until April 2nd, 2007 at Al Bareh, should you wish to visit. If you like the arts, believe me you won’t be disappointed.

Zimbabwe means great stone house; it is true that stone sculpture is the art that most represents the people of Zimbabwe. The works are chosen over a six month period, searching the country for the most dynamic, thought provoking pieces. Each sculpture has been masterfully executed in stone; Zimbabwe has one of the worlds most rich resources of minerals and stone deposits. The exuberance of the work, the vast varieties of stone and the great skill and imagination of the sculptors has led to many years of major exhibitions worldwide.

Over 40 stone sculptures will be exhibited from leading world renowned Zimbabwean sculptors in a range of different types of Serpentine stone.

Pieces on exhibition will range between medium to large scale that can be displayed indoors or outdoors, varying in style from abstract, to figurative, and semi-representative.
There will also be 10 Acrylic paintings, representing the life in Zimbabwe as seen by the local artists.

The exhibition will be inaugurated at 7pm on the 20th of March and will run until the 2nd of April,2007.

You can call the gallery on +973-1771 7707.

Well done Spring of Culture to have included this exhibition within your program.


Countdown started

countdown to the next elections

We deserve the parliament we vote for. Here’s to hoping, against all odds, that the people who voted for these dark-ages jokers would learn from their lesson and don’t assume – for a third time – that religiosity = political ability or wisdom for that matter, as this parliament has amply proven.

Welcome to the age of Bahraini Inquisition. Have the cinder ready, and build gallows in sufficient numbers for the exclusive use of the parliamentary inquisitors, the protectors of our faith, the defenders of our morals, the lovers of culture and the appreciators of the arts.

What did you actually expect? That this parliament would diligently work to increase freedoms of speech and expression? That they will open investigations in dire issues they have conveniently forgotten like Bandargate, the housing shortage, the dearth of land, the increasing poverty, retooling education and fixing the constitution?

Fat chance!

We can’t blame the government for this one. We can only blaming ourselves for voting for these morons. Well done. I hope whoever voted for them is happy with their choice now, go on, pat yourself on the back.

Assuming the next elections would happen on 15 Oct, 2010, there are 1,303 days left. Assuming we actually want to wait that long.


MPs with Religious Police mentality

I am quite convinced that this parliament doesn’t know why it was actually voted in. Apart from the sectarian overtones in almost every thing they do, they cannot distinguish between parliamentary work from that of the pulpit. Let me aid them in understanding the simple difference: the first is legislative and the other is advisory. To amplify the explanation on the latter; being an adviser does not give that person nor body the exclusive keys to nirvana, and the adviser should be prepared to see his advice be discarded regardless of how right he or she thinks it is.

وافق مجلس النواب بغالبية أعضائه أمس على تشكيل لجنة تحقيق برلمانية بشأن بعض الرقصات والأشعار التي قدمت خلال مهرجان «ربيع الثقافة»، الذي تنظمه وزارة الإعلام

A parliamentary probe committee was formed yesterday to investigate acts by performers in the Spring of Culture festival, which have been labelled un-Islamic.

Taking the above into consideration, what business is it of the illustrious Chamber of Representatives to force upon us their own myopic view of right and wrong? And which part of the legislative or even advisory mandates confers upon them the right to restrict what people should do, see or deem enjoyable art? Especially considering that the constitution of our societal makeup would never condone lewd conduct in any case, a fact that has been fully observed by the organisers, that we need these publicly elected representatives of the people to attempt to once again save us from our selves and force their own personal interpretations on a whole country?

This is what we get after 100 days of being in office?

While other parliaments strive to display what their members and governments have achieved in their first 100 days in office in order to show the seriousness with which they regard the trust placed in them by their electors; what we get here is a chamber full of prancing ignoramuses having foot-stomping fist thumping tantrums in response to a cultural show by a nationally renowned poet, an excellent musician, and a dance troop who attempted to translate both into motion.

Grow up, for goodness’ sake, just   g r o w  u p   already.

Your behaviour is shameful.


I didn’t go!

Marcel Khalife - originally uploaded by Mahnaz Ganji

And I’m kicking myself for not getting tickets ahead of time. I am really angry with myself, this was a golden opportunity that I was waiting for for some time now to attend Marcel Khalife’s performance and the last two nights were apparently magical especially that this time Marcel was in collaboration with Bahraini poet Qassim Haddad with an interpretation of Majnoon Layla.

Bahraini poet Qassim Haddad

The performance was so good that the Islamists are up in arms against it threatening to question the minister of information and sms messages have been doing the rounds against the Spring of Culture generally. And when these things happen, you know that you missed a major cultural event, as culture is the very farthest thing from those peoples’ minds.

I envy all of those who attended, but applaud them for showing “the others” that we – unlike them – do appreciate culture and want more of it.


Spring of Culture 2007 Calendar of Events

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My thanks to Sangeetha in my office who has created a full calendar of events for the Spring of Culture 2007 in a shared Google Calendar that you can subscribe to through your calendar program, pull through XML or iCAL feeds and even have those on your site if you wish.

The entries are full and include the published times, locations, website links and descriptive text as is printed in the official booklet of the extraveganza.

Go ahead, thank Sangeetha for this!


Spring of Culture is back!

Bahrain's Spring of Culture 2007

Amal alerts us that the schedule for this year’s Spring of Culture has been announced! This is the second year this excellent event is being held in Bahrain, and my goodness, the roll-call this year is for a month of complete immersion into art, music, dance, poetry, painting, theatre, recitals, and sculpture. What else can a person hope for?

The very first event is the excellent Lebanese musician Marcel Khalifa on both March 1st and 2nd, and I can guarantee you if you don’t arrive early (of if you don’t have enough pull for a front-row seat) you will not get a place. And that condition is probably the same for every single event declared so far, with a “surprise” – I think and hope – is still to be announced for the Arad Fort event, one that we really enjoyed last year was a Jazz festival.

I’m looking forward to a month of much needed brain food!


Jazz and Blues on a full moon lit night

So there IS potential in Bahrain for enjoying oneself! That’s the biggest revelation to me over the last couple of nights where we both enjoyed and soaked in cultural experiences which will last with those present for a long time to come.

The moon was full, the Arad Fort setting was beautiful, the weather tolerable, though cold, the selection of events gorgeous and even – for the most part – the audience was appreciative, especially on the Jazz night.

Two nights; the first a fusion of Cuban and Arab sounds, whilst the second was Jazz and Blues which without a doubt was the best live event I have ever attended! The Pitt Jazz All-Stars was an experience that will never be forgotten, and has re-kick-started my appreciation for jazz and blues, even the children enjoyed the two evenings, the latter much more than the former to them.

It is impossible for me to put into words my feelings of the event last night, but let me tell you this: I enjoyed every single jam session, and every single solo for every single musician that was on stage last night, especially the electric and eclectic performance by the base guitar god: Abraham Laboriel, who again defies description, however put into your mind the coolness of Baloo the bear and Tigger after a couple of espressos, now put both characters together and you will share the mental image I have of Abraham! Truly electrifying performance.

Pitt Jazz All-Stars

The only disappointment I had was I couldn’t buy their CDs on the way out because they disappeared in no time at all!

Thank you very much indeed EDB for bringing these events to us, I hope that this will not be an isolated incident but will over time become the rule.

Let me leave you with how the EDB described this particular event and provide you with links to the musicians:

The final performance on Thursday March 12th during the FORMULA ONE period will feature the “PITT JAZZ ALL STARS” for a memorable experience with some of the best world-renowned Jazz musicians will be featured during the Bahrain premiere of the Pitt Jazz All-Stars: Queen Nethree Bey (vocals), Maurice Brown (trumpet), Nathan Davis (tenor & soprano saxophones and musical director), Amina Figarova (piano), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Weinard Harper (drums), Eric Johnson (guitar), Abraham Laboriel (bass), Claus Reichstaller (trumpet).