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20 April 2023

New music collaboration to showcase unique blend of Sufi and Celtic music

New music collaboration to showcase unique blend of Sufi and Celtic music Image

ArtsEkta, one of Northern Ireland’s leading cultural and festival organisations, is proud to announce a new Sufi-Celtic music collaboration between artists from The Orchestral Qawwali Project, international Irish composer and musician Neil Martin and local orchestral musicians. The collaboration will bring UK-wide artists together to produce original music which will be premiered at St Anne’s Cathedral as part of the Belfast Mela 2023 on Tuesday 22nd August 2023.

Qawwali, meaning ‘to speak’ is a form of devotional music that expresses the mystical Sufi practice of Islam in South Asia. Widely regarded as the biggest step forward for the art-form in decades, The Orchestral Qawwali Project, has captivated audiences through its unique combination of Sufi poetry, Indian Classical dance and orchestral arrangements.

Led by three critically acclaimed UK British Asian artists Rushil, Abi and Amrit, the trio have performed in collaboration with international artists, orchestras, festivals and venues across the world including Southbank Centre, Celtic Connections, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and Expo 2020 in Dubai with Oscar-winning AR Rahman’s Firdaus Orchestra.

The project brings the Qawwali artists together with Neil Martin, a composer from Belfast whose work has been performed across the world from Ground Zero to Mostar Bridge and the Royal Albert Hall. Neil has contributed to over 100 albums and has performed in international venues, such as Carnegie Hall and Palazzo Vecchio.

Krishan Tandon, Creative Producer for the Belfast Mela said:

“We are deeply honored to be working with such talented musicians on this very special project. Rushil and Abi from the Orchestral Qawaali project are currently recognised worldwide as one of the most forward-thinking innovators in the artform for a generation. Laterally, Neil Martin is a composer and musician of international significance who’s work alone has had major impact on the development of the music sector in Northern Ireland.

Giving these artists a space to come together will undoubtedly lead to a unique performance that has not been witnessed on the island of Ireland before. We are really excited to welcome audiences to the stunning surroundings of St Anne’s Cathedral for what we promise will be a memorable evening of inspirational music”

Patricia Lavery, Head of Community Arts and Education at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, who supported the new music commission said:

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support ArtsEkta and this exciting new commission, thanks to The National Lottery players.  This is a unique and very special collaboration which brings together leading artists,and promises to be an unmissable experience as part of this year’s Belfast Mela.  I would encourage everyone to go along and enjoy.”

Tickets for Orchestral Qawwali ft Neil Martin are now on sale here and must be booked in advance.


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