sufi soul

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STEVE McCURRY PHOTOGRAPHER INTERVIEWED: Portraits of the diverse, damaged world

STEVE McCURRY PHOTOGRAPHER INTERVIEWED: Portraits of the diverse, damaged world

The old man emerges from a halo of half-shadow, golden light catching his white beard, pinpoints of sun creating white flares in his penetrating eyes. Like an Old Testament prophet or a portrait from Rembrandt, he seems to come from beyond time. “It was late afternoon and we were in one of the big forts with mud walls,” says...

THE POPE VOTE: Angels and Demons, black smoke, white smoke

THE POPE VOTE: Angels and Demons, black smoke, white smoke

Dan Brown's Vatican-based thriller Angels and Demons typically raises lots of questions: notably why would you buy the book now when you can just go see the movie? But to give Brown his due, he writes a cracking story which in the film fairly belts along -- and has as its backdrop the arcane mysteries of a Papal Conclave, the time when old...

Taken by Trees: East of Eden (Rough Trade)

Taken by Trees: East of Eden (Rough Trade)

This ethereal and exotically charming album by Swedish singer-composer Victoria Bergsman (aka Taken by Trees) is something of a rarity: she travelled to Lahore where she encountered not just the local musicians but a certain, shall we say, unusual attitude towards unmarrried women in Pakistan. None of that tension is here in the music however...

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to the Music of Afghanistan (RG/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to the Music of Afghanistan (RG/Southbound)

Although it would take an expert in this field to say whether this 15 track collection (with a bonus disc of mesmerising music by Ahmad Sham's qawwali group) is a fair overview, you can't help but get caught up in the swirling pop, evocative instrumentals and often quite thrilling Afghani "rock" on display. Clearly much of this...

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Sufi Music (World Music Network/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Sufi Music (World Music Network/Southbound)

When a musical genre loses its figurehead -- as reggae did with the passing of Bob Marley and Sufi music did with the death of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, both of whom had taken their music to a global audience -- it can have two results. At one level the music's profile can drop for a more general audience (as happened post-Marley), but...

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