Last night, I had the opportunity to take in a performance by The Whirling Dervishes. For those who are not familiar with the dervishes, it should be pointed that I am NOT refering to the alternative rock band Dervish, though I must profess that it would be interesting to see these dervishes and the rock band Phish in a double-bill! The Whirling Dervishes were at Duke University, which as everyone who follows lacrosse and basketball knows is in Durham, NC.
The event was organized by my friends at the Divan Cultural Center (see link below) in the Raleigh suburb of Cary, NC.
I looked at the Dervishes' 'road tour' and apparently they were in Montgomery, Al., on Thursday, Durham last night and tonight_ amazingly enough, they will be in Mobile, Al. They have somehow managed to go all over Alabama (they also performed in Huntsville earlier) without stopping in Tuscaloosa_ where my good friend Ilhan Tuzcu works as a college professor at the University of Alabama. He is now speaking Turkish with an awful Southern accent (shaka ediyorum, tabiiki!- that means of course, I'm kidding in Yiddish).
According to the web site for the Dervishes (see link below), Mevlana Jalaladdeen Rumi, (or Rumi/Mevlana for short), a Persian man who primarily resided in the Turkish city of Konya in the 13th century, is one of the great spiritual masters and poetic suggestions of mankind. He has been made famous by the likes of scholar Coleman Barks and Madonna, whoever she is. Rumi also founded the Mevlevi Sufi Order.
Rumi is unique because he is admired by both conservative Moslems and liberal new age practicers in the West! In his lifetime, Mevlana emphasized peace and understanding and resolving conflict without violence. Perhaps, 'our president' Dick Cheney should read some of his poetry.
The Divan Center offers Turkish cooking classes every Saturday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. They also offer Turkish language lessons, for those of you whose Turkish is 'as good' as my French (I have basically taken courses for francais five times over the course of high school and college, and pretty much all I can say is 'Je ne parle pas francais_ zut alors!'). Ama, Turkceyi biraz daha rahat konusabilirim. (which means 'I can speak Turkish considerably better'_ although I may perhaps actually have a dreaded Southern accent when speaking it!)
The Center also has occasionally Turkish kahvaltis (kahvalti means breakfast-clarification, in Turkish, you don't add the letter 's' to make a word plural_ but for those of us who like to mix up the languages interchangably.....)
Turkish/Egyptian musician Orhan Faruk Tekbilek, who was living in Rochester, NY, a few years back, has recorded the classic style of music which usually accompanies Whirling Dervish performances.
At any rate, here are useful links for one to learn about all things Rumi.........