I vinens speil (In the mirror of wine)
These songs are close relatives of drinking songs, erotic love songs and church music, but all the lyrics reflect the rich world of Islam.
This album is an extraordinarily beautiful and powerful encounter between traditional Persian songs and Norwegian church music and jazz. It is perfect for meditation and understanding that the human heart is the same, whatever the period, whatever the culture.
Hafez and Rumi lived in Iran and wrote in the Persian language: Rumi in the 13th century and Hafez a century later. They were mystics who within the world of Islam wrote poems that found inspiration in Islam, Christianity and the Zoroastrian religion. Mahsa Vahdat and Erik Hillestad have cooperated on translating some of their verse into Norwegian. The melodies are in part traditional Persian ones, while some are written by Mahsa Vahdat and Tord Gustavsen, who is also responsible for the arrangements.
The conductor of SKRUK is, as always, Per Oddvar Hildre. The choir and Mahsa Vahdat are accompanied by Tord Gustavsen on piano, Mads Eilertsen on bass and Kenneth Ekornes on percussion.
Part of the philosophy of the mystics was that each of us has direct access to God’s mercy, regardless of religious structures. Mystics are found in all religions, but the great Persian poets have put down their thoughts and ideas in poems that are among the highlights in the canon of world literature. The popularity and importance of the poems in the Muslim world, and their sensuous content and existential messages, add to their high appeal, and they provide an excellent platform for dialogue between Christians and Muslims.
The album was recorded in Kulturkirken Jakob and Volda church in June and July this year by Alf Christian Hvidsteen. The songs will be performed for the first time live on 21 August at the church music festival in Kristiansand.
The album is being released at the same time as the book “Hafez – 100 utvalgte dikt” (Hafez – 100 selected poems) – translated by Mahsa Vahdat and Erik Hillestad, and published by Press Publishing House. The book and the album are both decorated with Persian miniatures from the 1400s from the museum “Davids Samling” (David’s Collection) in Copenhagen, Denmark. Both of the releases have been funded by Mimeta, a Norwegian centre funding artists and organisations contributing to culture and development. Mimeta is owned by the Strømme Foundation and the Agder County Authority.