Reed Society for the Sacred Arts
Reed Society for the Sacred Arts

Events


Wajd: Songs of Separation Film Screening with Director Amar Chebib
Mar
6
6:30 PM18:30

Wajd: Songs of Separation Film Screening with Director Amar Chebib

Join us for a Reed Society x BusBoys and Poets event: D.C. film premiere of Wajd: Songs of Separation.

Director Amar Cehbib traveled to Syria in 2010. Touched by the harrowing experiences of the friends he made, Wajd transformed into the stories of three musicians turned refugees who were forced to rebuild their lives in exile. They turned to their love of music to help them find meaning in the aftermath of destruction and atrocity. Intimate footage of their daily lives weaves together with bittersweet musical performances, extremely rare Sufi ceremonies, and poetic imagery of a pre-war Syria that no longer exists. What unfolds is a cinematic meditation on loss, yearning, and faith.

Join us for this film screening and an opportunity to meet and talk to the director of the film, Amar Chebib who will be in attendance. Jason Hamacher, musician and founder of Lost Origins Productions, will also be present to discuss the recordings he made of ancient Syrian chants.

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Al-Firdaus Ensemble Concert
Nov
18
6:30 PM18:30

Al-Firdaus Ensemble Concert

The Andalusian Classical Band al-Firdaus Ensemble from Granada, Spain will be performing at The George Washington University Marvin Center Ballroom on Sunday November 18th. Bringing with them a 13 century-old tradition of Andalusian Classical music, come hear from where Western Classical music takes its roots! The unique sound of their music is due to a synthesis of different musical styles. These include original compositions of a more Western classical character with influences from both Celtic and Flamenco traditions, and new arrangements of songs drawn from the rich heritage of traditional sufi music from Arabic, Andalusi and Turkish sources.

Also within their repertoire are musical adaptations of poems in aljamiado, old Spanish written by the Moriscos using the Arabic script. In this way Al Firdaus hopes to revive the heritage of the Moriscos whose culture was forbidden in its day and and has only reached us through manuscripts which they left behind on their expulsion in 1609 and that have been discovered over the years hidden in old houses. Experience their namesake, the 7th Heaven, and reverberate with the paradisal soundscape they have played throughout Europe, Bosnia, the U.S., Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey, Lebanon, and Malaysia.

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Restoring Authentic Spirituality with Kabir & Camille Helminski
Nov
11
9:30 AM09:30

Restoring Authentic Spirituality with Kabir & Camille Helminski

Poetry is another facet of sacred art that RSSA hopes to promote as a means of weaving different communities together with Mevlana Rumi as the center. Kabir Helminski is one of the top translators and teachers of Mevlana in the US and through another partnership with the Threshold Society, RSSA was able to hold a workshop that was well attended. A weekend filled with reflections and recitations of Jalaal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi, Rumi’s poem were revived from pages to hearts.

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Mawlid Qawwali Show with Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad Ensemble
Nov
26
4:30 PM16:30

Mawlid Qawwali Show with Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad Ensemble

Just like our first qawwali concert in 2016, this concert was sold out with over twice the room capacity. Hosted over Thanksgiving holiday break, the concert itself was a spiritual thanksgiving through the celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s birth, known as the mawlid. Again, the RSSA utilized the GWU Pakistani Students’ Association partnership established in 2016 to ensure venue and audience acquisition, but most importantly so that the educational event could take place in an educational institution. Dr. Tarek Elgawhary was invited from the Islamic Community Center of Potomac, MD to speak on the importance of celebrating all aspects of Muhammad’s life (PBUH). Just like the last concert, these opening words by the Imam really helped reorient the audience to a deeper understanding of the music and it's 700 year-old tradition

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Arabic Calligraphy Workshops with Khalid Casado
Apr
24
to May 1

Arabic Calligraphy Workshops with Khalid Casado

  • George Washington University (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

When an internationally renowned scholar of Islamic calligraphy comes to DC, RSSA makes sure to host him for classes. After spending seven years in Turkey receiving his Islamic calligraphy diploma (icazet), Khalid Casado lives in Spain and regularly tours internationally for workshops and calligraphy competitions. In accordance with engaging the youth from the previous qawwali concert, the RSSA made sure to have another student org cosponsor his workshops. So during the spring of 2017 when students are filled with stress and deadlines over finals and projects, the Muslim Students Association at the George Washington University offered Islamic calligraphy workshops for meditation and alleviating stress.

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Spring of Consciousness: The Mystical Poetry of the Sufis
Apr
22
1:30 PM13:30

Spring of Consciousness: The Mystical Poetry of the Sufis

Collaborating with Amir Vahab was RSSA’s first endeavor reaching out into the local music scene through Multiflora Production. RSSA, however, stayed true to their educational roots by hosting the concert at GWU through a third student organization, the Afghan Student Association. Amir Vahab and his ensemble are one of the few authentic musicians who upholds the traditions of authentic Mevlevi whirling, master-student relationship through weekly lessons, and a profound expertise on metaphysical Sufi doctrine that is presented alongside the music. Through the partnership with the GWU Afghan Student Association, the concert was held in the historic Hand Chapel on the GWU Mount Vernon Campus and all tickets were free.

On the same weekend, RSSA arranged for Amir Vahab to debut at DC’s world music stage-- Capital Fringe alongside another RSSA partner, the Shakti Foundation. This partnership will prove to be monumental in working together with like minded organization, as Shakti Foundations focuses exclusively on immigrant populations. This show was also sold out.


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The Power of the Pen: Arabic Calligraphy from East to West
Apr
21
12:00 PM12:00

The Power of the Pen: Arabic Calligraphy from East to West

  • The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The Reed Society for Sacred Arts organized a popular lecture on Arabic Calligraphy at the George Washington University Textile museum. The lecture attracted a large audience and focused on the power of Arabic calligraphy to from Chinese-Muslims to Spanish-Muslims. This event was a collaboration among GW Confucius Institute, GW Arabic Language, Literature, and Culture Program Department, GW Religion Department and the Reed Society for Sacred Arts. The lecture helped deepen understanding of Arabic calligraphy, and the topic interacted with several other fields of study. The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dean Ben Vinson III, provided his remarks to welcome and thank the guest artists and audience.

The event included three esteemed guest artists and calligraphers – Chinese-Muslim Haji Noor Deen (Chinese name: MI Guangjiang), world renowned artists Mohamed Zakariya, and a younger accomplished calligrapher born in Spain, Khalid Casado. Though they come from different backgrounds, they all focus on Arabic Calligraphy, their own interpretation of Divinity in the written form, and the eternal bonds shared between masters and their students.

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Amjad Sabri Memorial Concert Fanna-fi-Allah Qawwali
Sep
18
6:00 PM18:00

Amjad Sabri Memorial Concert Fanna-fi-Allah Qawwali

This concert was the first of many partnerships RSSA has in engaging both the local community and more importantly: the youth. Co-sponsored by the Pakistani Students’ Association at the George Washington University, RSSA was able to bridge the gap between generations through this mystical form of music. This group is unique in that it is comprised mostly of non-native Urdu speakers, Caucasian Americans and Canadians who learned this tradition art from esteemed teachers in Pakistan, and were able to uphold the divine tradition of the music and act as a bridge between different cultures. The concert was in memoriam of the late Amjad Sabri, a famous qawwal ruthlessly murdered by the Taliban. This concert sold out a week before the event.

RSSA tries to revive the divinity in traditionally sacred art forms. At this concert, the introductory talk by a Sufi master from a family of Sufi teachers lent a vital piece in most qawwali concerts in America--context. In his talk, he not only compared the human body to various instruments ( the harmonium to our lungs and diaphragm, the tabla to the beating of our hearts and each singer singing the song of life that we all sing everyday), his presence framed the qawwali in the way it has been been originally presented: a means for transformation, even for a moment.  As RSSA’s first event, it was considered a success: a sold out, youth-led, concert of mystical Sufi music where the 700 year old tradition was at the center in the center of the nation’s capital.

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