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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Sufism in the Arts-without Traditionalism!


Sufism has again made a high-profile appearance in the mainstream Western arts, following on Sir John Tavener's 2004 The Veil of the Temple. Tavener is a Traditionalist, but this time there is no discernable Traditionalist input. Director Peter Brook, famous for Marat/Sade, is considered something of a disciple of Gurdjieff, not of Guénon.

Brook put on his play Tierno Bokar in New York in 2005. Tierno (or Cerno) Bokar (c.1883-1940) was a Tijani shaykh in Mali, and has been the subject of both a literary/documentary biograhy (Amadou Hampaté Bâ, Vie et enseignement de Tierno Bokar: le sage de Bandiagara, Paris: Seuil, 1980) and a scholarly work (Louis Brenner, West African Sufi: The Religious Heritage and Spiritual Search of Cerno Bokar Saalif Taal, London: C. Hurst, 1984; an extract from Brenner's book is available here).

Brook describes his play as bieng about a theme that is much more modern than Traditionalist: "the question that concerns us all—the power of violence and the true nature of a tolerance that is more powerful still" (Brook's comment).

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