Festival Brings Inner Warmth And Harmony To Stormy Glasgow
Outside it was one of the stormiest weekends that Scotland has seen for a while, but the World Sufi Festival lived up to its promise to bring inner warmth to winter Glasgow when it took place at the SECC between Friday 22 – Sunday 24 February.
Organised by the Association of Poetry & Music Glasgow, this was the second World Sufi Festival to take place in the city. It settled in well to its new home in the prestigious SECC, with installations and stalls with information, food, crafts, goods and participants from more than 12 countries and 4 continents, including Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran, Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, Senegal, Australia, England and Scotland.
The opening ceremony was attended by special guests including Lord Provost of Glasgow Bob Winter, Consuls General of India and Pakistan, funders representatives and councillors.
The special children’s area (funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund) was extremely popular with children of all ages (including some accompanying adults, many of whom gleefully tried their hands at the activities). There were Sufi stories, the chance to make a personal talisman, calligraphy, banner making and crafts. “A beautiful, safe place” commented one parent.
There were free performances throughout the day with musicians and dancers. Turkish and Iranian contributions made an impressive impact. There were quieter activities too, including yoga and poetry in the Fountain Garden, and a programme of films and talks. Glasgow City Council Parks Dept provided the greenery for all the courtyards, including the Fountain Garden, turning the inside of the SECC into a verdant outside space!
The Mushaira and the Awaz FM ‘Glasgow Idol’ Competition were extremely popular. Also encouraging people to join in and try things for themselves were the Mourides at the Senegalese Marché with singers, dancers and drummers from Uganda, Zimbabwe (including Rise Kagona from the legendary Bhundu Boys), USA, Scotland and Senegal.
Many people who attended said that they had learned something about other cultures and welcomed the opportunity to do so in such a supportive and peaceful atmosphere. A teacher commented that for one of her pupils – an Afghan boy – the highlight of the event was finding another person who spoke his own language.
Performance highlights included the UK’s only Persian classical music group, the Naghmeh Ensemble, BBC3 World Music Award winners the Kabul Ensemble, qawwals from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan protégé Salim Sabri and top Pakistan pop/rock singer Mustapha Zahid (from Rox3n) who delighted his teenage fans by inviting two of them onstage with him.
The World Sufi Festival is organised by Association of Poetry and Music Glasgow and major funders include the Heritage Lottery Fund, Glasgow City Council, Culture and Sport Glasgow.
For more information – www.apmguk.org
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