The rich musical Sufi tradition has been transmitted orally in Aleppo for decades. Jawa’s mission is to preserve this heritage, which has been threatened by the Syrian war. The Sufi masters, who kept the secrets of this musical tradition, are gradually disappearing from the scene, threatening to lose a treasure of songs forever. Jawa Band presents the traditional musical pieces from its personal perspective and its own vision, while preserving the classical way of performing Sufi muwashahat with its complex rhythms and oriental maqams.
As guardians of this rich cultural heritage, Jawa revives the music and does so in a contemporary way. Originally, Sufi music was not played on instruments, but by doing so, Jawa offers a new and more contemporary approach. It is a project of preservation, but also of resistance. They refuse to see a tradition gradually disappear without trying to save it themselves.
Sufi whirling is a form of meditation which is still practiced by the Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order. It is a commonplace meditation practice, through which dervishes aim to reach the source of all perfection. This is sought thru leaving behind one’s nafs or personal desires, by paying attention to the music, focusing on God, and spinning one’s body in repetitive circles, which has been seen as a symbolic imitation of planets withinside the Solar System orbiting the sun. A dervish practices multiple rituals, the primary of which is the dhikr, a remembering of Allah. The dhikr involves recitation of devotional Islamic prayer. This dhikr comes with dancing and whirling, in order to reach a state of “ecstatic trances”.