SOAS University of London

World music and dance at third Interfaith Music Festival at SOAS

21 February 2014

SOAS, University of London students bring world music and dance from groups with Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim backgrounds to London at the third Interfaith Music Festival next week.

Taking place on Monday 24 February from 11am to 9pm in the Brunei Building at SOAS, performances range from Fertile Crescent, a multi-ethnic group of SOAS students performing Middle Eastern music from local traditions such as Sufi, Ottoman, Iraqi and Azeri; Pearls of Islam, two Caribbean Muslim sisters who will perform Sufi-inspired music;  the London Lucumi Choir, representing the syncretic Afro-Cuban religions of Santeria, Arara, Palo and Espiritismo, singing in languages from Spanish to Yoruba as well as solo artists such as Justin Senryu Williams, who will play the Shakuhachi (Japanese flute).

Interfaith Music Festival pic

The festival has been organised by SOAS BA Politics graduate (2013) and former Anti-Racism Officer Anja Fahlenkamp, who was also awarded the special Director’s Prize last year for her contribution to SOAS. Anja represented SOAS at national conferences and Westminster Select Committees and extended the role into interfaith work, culminating in the ground-breaking Interfaith Music Festivals.

The festival also brings talks on ‘Dialogue and Peace through Music’ featuring Dr Toni Baum, who completed her PhD at SOAS, who will be focusing on Israel and Palestine; June Boyce-Tillman, who runs an annual musical interfaith event, will discuss ‘Space for Peace’ at Winchester Cathedral and Ed Emery on cross-cultural musical dialogue through his project ‘Ceilidh Beyond Borders’.

Anja said: “At each of the past two years' festivals, over twenty acts from the most diverse religious backgrounds donated their musical and dance performances to the good cause of interfaith dialogue. Both times, several hundred people took part in the day-long festival, which included interfaith panel talks about the role of music in different religions, music as a tool for interfaith dialogue and the power of music.”

During the festival, there will be an all-day Interfaith Fair in the Brunei Lecture Theatre foyer where festival attendees can find out more about various faith and interfaith actors. Follow the link for more info.