Rumi Dances Under the May 18th Moon

Rumi at La fontaine May 18

For all you Rumi fans out there!  A Rumi movie.

According to the the movie promoters, Rumi is America’s best-selling poet. Apparently, his popularity as the number one, daily, Facebook quote has helped him leap beyond the previous favorite, Lebanese- American, Khalil Gibran.  That, and the fact that his copyright expired several hundred years ago.

Poor Natasha Tretheway,  probably few of you have even heard of America’s 2013 Poet Laureate.  She has 1,861 Likes versus the Persian’s million plus.  Just give her another 800 years to build an audience.

raise your words not your voice rumi

Don’t get your tailfeathers in a tinzy, dear roosters.  Just having a little Rumi fun.  I LOVE Rumi.

Amazon, helpful reviewer, Nicholas Croft, wrote about the film,

“The first fifteen minutes of the video relate the biography of Rumi, who was born in Afghanistan during the year 1207. Rumi’s family moved to Turkey, where his father became the head of an Islamic Sufi learning community. Upon his father’s death, Rumi took his place as the head of this ancient community of prayer.

Rumi eventually met with a desert mystic named Shams of Tabriz and mentored under him for a number of years. The grief that Rumi felt, upon the death of Shams, led to the birth of his poetry of longing and also to the creation of the Whirling Dervish dance tradition.

The story of how Coleman Barks came to his decades-long project as translator of Rumi’s Persian texts is then revealed. We witness recording sessions where Mr. Barks reads from his acclaimed translations of the poet. These sessions are often accompanied with musical instrumentation such as the oud, harmonium, dotar, tabla, violin, ney and sarod. Video talks by the various scholars, which were often shot within beautiful natural settings, are interspersed among the studio sessions. All of these elements combine to suggest both the tone and the meaning of Rumi’s poetry.

Rumi – Poet of the Heart is a devotional work that gently guides viewers through an introduction to the life and spirit of one of America’s most widely read poets. Join with Coleman Barks and company to explore Rumi’s compelling inner secret world. You will be transformed through their intoxicating spirit of contagious enthusiasm.”

Saturday, May 18th is the quarter moon.  Where? La Fontaine Centre for Contemporary Art, of course.  This should be one of those beautiful nights we can be outside before the weather gets too hot.


Andrea Bocelli Concerto – One Night in Bahrain

Andrea Bocelli performed his One Night in Central Park Concert last night.  As the solar flares whipped around our sun, the energies of cultures, music, eras and beliefs mixed in the air next to the sea.

Italian Andrea Bocelli was the headliner, but the young Bahraini woman with the bobbed hair and boots sitting behind me did not seem to understand the concert was not just Andrea singing.  The renowned Russian State Hermitage Orchestra conducted by veteran Eugene Kohn was FEATURED.  And Soprano Paola Sanguinetti who has performed with Bocelli for over ten years was more than arm candy.  But each time Bocelli was walked on and off stage, the audience held their breath wondering whether HE was going to come back.

My neighbor thought when Bocelli was not on stage it was a mini-intermission so she laughed and chatted with her friends.  After Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours, I finally turned around and said “your laughing is distracting” and suggested that she save her comments for between the movements.

She said “I will try.”

The program’s second half gave the audience some operatic relief.

During his famed rendition of Shubert’s Ave Maria, the stage screen featured a video of Bocelli standing at the foot of a four-foot tall Virgin Mary covered in a floor length veil.  Muslims respect the Virgin Mary.  There are more passages devoted to her in the Koran than in the Bible.  But as Bocelli placed a white rose at her feet and the Virgin’s veil was gently pulled from her face, the Islamic tenet that idol worship is forbidden came to mind.  When the song ended, half the audience clapped and Mojo leaned over and whispered, “oops”.   Already MPs had been calling the Spring of Culture “immoral”.

The Incanto favorites Mamma and Funiculi, Funiculi did not relieve the discomfort hanging over the audience.

Bocelli left the stage and the orchestra played a suite from Romeo and Juliet.  Excerpts from Zeffirelli’s 1968 film’s balcony scene were projected behind the orchestra.  I heard tongues clucking when the blue-eyed, 17-year old Leonard Whiting snuck into 15-year old Olivia Hussey’s window and kissed her.  I don’t think anyone told the producers that in the Bahrain cinemas even Shrek’s first kiss with the princess-turned-ogre Fiona was cut out.

Ultimately it was Elvis, a showgirl and the Las Vegas crooners who saved the night under the Lenten moon.

When Bocelli sang Elvis’ familiar Can’t Help Falling in Love, the mood began to lift.  The audience cheered after he gave his young guest artist, Ilaria Della Bidia, a big hug between their duets.  The audience went wild over his New York New York encore and gave him a stomping ovation for this Liza Minelli and Frank Sinatra staple.

Just as earth lucked out without any power grid disruptions, the Spring of Culture‘s Bocelli concert ended on a HIGH NOTE.

And the audience bundled in their winter jackets and scarves proved the concert did not simply “please semi-naked women” as the MP claimed.

You Can’t Be Grumpy When Julio Sings

The last three days I have been feeling quite grumpy.

It’s because I am having to come to terms with the age-related adjustments I must make to my yoga practice.  As I watch my young teacher bend, bend, bend, my ego is having difficulty accepting that I cannot mimic her without injuring my knees, back or _____   (insert nearly any body part).

Perhaps next week.  If only I stretch a little further……..

Last night Mojo and I attended Julio Iglesias’ concert at the Arad Fort.  He came to Bahrain as part of The Spring of Culture.  Even though I only knew his “All The Girls I Loved Before” duet with Willie Nelson, we both agreed the show was terrific.


The good news was his voice is still strong.  And he was still surrounded with young women whose legs sliding out of their evening dresses trounced Angelina Jolie on the red carpet.

HRH King Hamad was impressed too.  He presented the 69-year old Spaniard an award for his prolific musical achievements.

I can only imagine Julio must be pretty grumpy today after the local newspaper featured his award on the front page.  Why? The photo was taken from his left side.

Based upon his myriad of publicity shots, Julio prefers his right side.  Even in his younger days, he entered the stage from the left and sang to his partner so his right side faced the audience.  The same was true last night.  His three sinewy backup singers all stood on the right side of the stage.

After flying in from a concert in Moscow and two nights outside in the Bahrain winter, I hope today he is resting and not obsessing about the photo.  But I know as I watched him carefully execute his choreographed moves, his age was on his mind.

“I am 47 years old” he joked with the audience.

He pretended his water was vodka.
When his saxophonist offered him a scarf, he turned it down, shouting “I feel terrific!”

Wearing only his suit jacket, he sang for an hour and a half while being pelted by an icy desert wind.

Watching him I wondered “at his age, why is he subjecting himself to this?”

Today I went to see my young hairdresser after a two month hiatus.  He looked at me and said, “You look great.  Have you lost weight?”

“No,” I said thinking a moment.  “But I have been immersed in my yoga training since January.”

“I have never exercised.  My doctor told me I should do yoga.  Everyone says yoga is excellent for you.” He continued, “You look different, better.  After seeing how you were walking, I am motivated to find a yoga class for me.”

I was so pleased.

“Yoga is great,” I agreed.  And thinking about Julio telling us how his music came from his heart and how much he enjoyed singing to people around the world, I added,

“And always do what you love.  That will keep you feeling young.”


Tales by Chapter

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