A BILINGUAL MEVLID: Süleyman Çelebi’s masterpiece in Greek and Turkish


Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 6:00pm to 8:30pm


Thompson Room, Barker Center, 12 Quincy Street

Recognized as a classic of Turkish literature, Vesilet’ün Necat, or more commonly known as Mevlid-i Şerif is a long poem commemorating the birth of the Prophet Muhammed written in Turkish in 1409 by Süleyman Çelebi (1351-1422) in Bursa. It is often chanted on special occasions such as the birth of a child or as a commemoration of the dead. Musically, mevlid is a solo form, improvised and unaccompanied, usually performed in conjunction with Koranic chant and informal group singing of devotional songs (ilahi). The mevlid was translated into other languages of the Ottoman Empire, especially in the Balkans where the translations became just as popular. Tonight one section (bahir) of the mevlid will be chanted in Greek and another section will be chanted in Turkish. Before and in between the sections DÜNYA musicians will perform Sufi devotional songs in both languages.

DÜNYA (the Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Greek word for “world”), a musicians’ collective, is a non-profit, tax exempt educational organization located in Boston, Massachusetts. Its goal is to explore a cosmopolitan view of the world through the lens of a wide range of Turkish traditions, alone and in conversation with the musics of the formerly Ottoman peoples—Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Arabs, Kurds, mystics—as well as with western and other world traditions. The DÜNYA collective includes specialists in Ottoman music, early European music, Middle Eastern Christian and Jewish music, ethnomusicology, jazz, contemporary composition and popular music. DÜNYA seeks to work with a wide range of cultural and religious organizations and relies on no particular political, governmental or religious affiliation or support of any kind.

Contact: Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program, 617-495-3379
Sponsor(s): Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies