Dance and Music
The poetry of 13th century scholar and mystic Rumi is brought to life during The Rumi Concert, a multi-media performance featuring dance, music and storytelling that takes place at the Lensic Performing Arts Center on October 5.
This annual Santa Fe event is presented by poet and translator Coleman Barks, storydancer Zuleikha, percussionist Glen Velez, cellist Eugene Friesen and African kora player and vocalist Zena Carlota.
“I’m including Rumi’s poetry but also emphasizing the words of Shams-e Tabrizi during the concert,” explains Barks. “Rumi was kind and gentle, but Shams was fierce and ornery. It seems good to bring Shams and his fire into the performance.”
In 1244 Rumi, whose mystical poetry has been translated into many of the world’s languages, met Tabrizi, a spiritual wanderer who became his teacher.
“The two men stayed together for three years,” Barks says. “They were together constantly. Then one day Shams leaves and is never seen again.”
Barks is the translator of “Soul Fury,” a collection of poetry by Rumi and Tabrizi, and “The Essential Rumi,” a group of Rumi’s poems. In “Soul Fury” Barks focuses on Rumi’s thoughts about love, including the kind of love that was part of the friendship that Rumi and Tabrizi shared.
Zuleikha, Velez and Friesen are regular performers in past Rumi concerts, but Carlota is a new face on stage. A composer, instrumentalist and visual and theater artist, Carlota taps into the space between dreams, ancestry and memory through sound and imagery and is inspired by the folkloric traditions of the African Diaspora.
Proceeds from The Rumi Concert benefit The Storydancer Project, a 17-year old international non-profit organization based in Santa Fe that was founded by Zuleikha. The Storydancer Project’s mission is to inspire positive change in women and children in the face of adversity through transformative movement and self-care practices that restore vitality and cultivate joy.