World Music

The 7 cities of love

Théâtre Maisonneuve November 12th, 2017

A grandiose closing night dedicated to Khalil Gibran

To end its 18th edition on a high note, the Festival du monde arabe is offering the Montréal public a unique gathering with a truly prestigious event dedicated to Khalil Gibran, poet and author of The Prophet and Spirits Rebellious. Under the direction of Father Khalil Rahmé, more than 50 artists, including the Arab world’s most prestigious choir, the NDU Choir, as well as outstanding singer Fadia Tomb El-Hage and virtuoso musicians, will turn to the eternal tales of the writer who “delivered to us the poetic spirit of the East.”

A unique journey to the seven cities of a rebellious and passionate love, inspired both by the works and the life of this pioneer with his “hunger for beauty” and, like his Prophet, his ability to keep his sense of winder for life intact. “I am not a thinker. I am a creator of forms,” he wrote. And these forms are what we find both in the paintings and the books of this Arabic-language modernizer and arch-opponent of English-language universality, forming in his own way, and with disconcerting simplicity, the complex compositions of the paradoxes we encounter.

Visionary, rebellious and heretical, Khalil Gibran marked his era. Neither illness nor the pain of exile tainted the striking beauty of his divine, simple and timeless poetry. A humanist with a dual identity, Gibran attempted throughout his life to achieve a synthesis of Eastern heritage and Western modernity. His works pay tribute to nature, to that of Lebanon and its age-old cedars, but remain focused on the theme of love.

“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life”, Gibran wrote. And this is the language that Father Khalil and the NDU Choir have mastered over the last 25 years. Acclaimed worldwide and the recipient of numerous awards, including the gold medal at the 2007 Mondial Choral Loto-Québec, this impressive and exhilarating choir presents chants and melodies drawn from an ancient Eastern heritage, enriched with re-conquered Western forms and harmonized by its erudite and charismatic leader.

The enchanting Fadia Tomb El-Hage, with her rare vocal timbre, sombre and feline, accompanies the choir and lends her voice, one of the most beautiful in the Middle East, to the immortal works of Gibran in this grandiose event, reflecting the illustrious writer and painter and his ethereal world: creative and universal, at the crossroads of all imaginations!

Les 7 cités de l’amour is a tribute to Khalil Gibran, who spread renewal and promise during one of the darkest eras in the history of the Arab world, but it is also, and above all, an opportunity for us as human beings today, from here and elsewhere, to revive dreams and hopes. Gibran returns to us out of necessity, a panacea for our wounds and a radical antidote to the harmful effects of our time. At this time of return to the original purity of mankind, we would hear whispered: “Your spring went astray in your hearts and minds. Stop waiting for it, or seek it elsewhere.”

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