Thursday, July 1, 2010

Meeting Places and Journeys

Shye Ben Tzur -(his name means "Gift son of Boulder/Rock") is an Israeli Hebrew speaking Qawwali (Sufi) singer.

He was formerly part of the rock band Sword of Damocles. After attending a concert in Israel by the Indian classical musicians Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Zakir Hussain, he became interested in Indian music, which brought him into contact with Qawwali.

He went to Ajmer in India (the site of the mausoleum of one of the greatest India Sufi saints, Moinuddin Chishti), and learnt Qawwali from qawwals there. In 2004, he performed at Jahan-e-Khusrau, the prestigious international Sufi music festival held in New Delhi in the spring annually since 2001.

After years of studying Indian classical music in the traditional manner, Shye had felt the urge to compose music using his own language. His debut album Heeyam (Supreme love), was recorded in India, Israel, and USA. It was released in 2003, and earned great applause. In Heeyam Shye has worked with traditional Sufi Qawwali singers, (Qawwali is a form of ecstatic Muslim devotional music) who have been learning his compositions and poetry, and sung them in Hebrew.

From his own life experience Ben-Tzur has injected bnew life into his own ancient culture and is creating a unique cross cultural body of work. Besides working with the Qawwal communities across India, in the past few years shye has been collaborating with different folk musicians from the Rajasthan desert. His first collection of poems Souls expressions was published in 1999 in Israel A new book with a collection of his poetry “Love poems of worship” is soon to be published in Israel. In present days Shye is concluding the recording of his second album titled “SHOSHAN” That is to be release with Earthsync on 2009.

You can listen to, and buy, his music here

He also has a presence on my space

And a journey of a different kind...Born Ellen Peters, Illana Skolnik, was raised as a Protestant in a “colored,” or mixed-race, family under apartheid. But more than 20 years ago she converted to Judaism and has been living in Israel ever since.

Read her Ruth like journey here

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