Rumi by Candlelight is a creative musical collaboration centered around the poetry of Molana Jalal ad-Din Balkhi Rumi and the Sufi universal message of love and unity (of all beings) in his poetry. The group came together and produced its first work in the autumn of 2007. After being received with a great deal support and enthusiasm from the community, Rumi by Candlelight event became an annual tradition comprised of musical meditations, spoken words, and songs.
Jalal ad-Din Rumi is the most popular poet in the U.S. today. He was born in present day Afghanistan in 1207. In his first few years his family fled the Mongols and after many years settled in Konya, in present day Turkey, when he was in his twenties. On his father’s death, he took over the leadership of the Sufi religious school at the age of 24. In 1244 he met Shams-i-Tabriz, a wild dervish who quickly became his mentor and intimate, spiritual friend.
Rumi became consumed by this friendship and was thrown into terrible grief when Shams disappeared, possibly slain by some of Rumi’s jealous students. Rumi’s wonderful poetry, so powerful today, comes from his awakening out of this grief. He became, and has remained, one of the leading mystics of his age, and some say of all time. He died in Konya in 1273 at age 66. People from all religions attended his funeral as each saw him as a prophet of their own.
Majid Bastani is a student of Sufism and mysticism. He was fortunate to have learned from and practiced with masters of the ahl al-Ḥaq̣, rifaʿī, and shaḍhilīyya Sufi orders. Through his studies, he became deeply acquainted with the works of mystics and scholars such as Rumī, Suhrawardī, Shabestarī, Avīcenna, and ibn ʿArabī.
Betsy Bevan lives a highly creative life, composing, performing, painting with a passion, writing and facilitating young people in the joy of music making. She’s an award winning composer, self-taught artist and teaches world music at the Montessori School in Greensboro. She has a private music studio in which she teaches piano and composition and an art studio where she paints and works as an illustrator on various collaborative projects. As a painter since 1995 she has developed her own style through her interest in the present moment process of making art. She takes brush to canvas and starts from where she’s at, trying for honesty and delighting in what appears. Betsy has composed and produced 4 music albums, has written a book, several poems and children’s poem stories. She grew up in New England, lived in upstate New York for several years where she earned an advanced degree in composition at the Eastman School of Music and now lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. www.betsybevan.com
Daniel Chambo has been a student of music since age 10 and now specializes in creating music on bamboo flute, saxophone, and voice for ceremonial and intentional settings, where his deeply emotional and highly intuitive approach helps participants move deeper into their own authentic experience. His teachers in the field of North Indian Classical music and Naada Yoga (Yoga of Sound) Include Steve Gorn, K. Sridhar, Pt Tarun Bhattacharya, morning bird songs, mountain sunsets, leaves dancing in the wind, and countless other messengers of this world and beyond.
Will Ridenour is a professional musician from Greensboro, NC who specializes in international folkloric percussion styles and the kora, a harp-lute from West Africa. Since 1997, Will has studied with master kora and percussion teachers in Mali, Senegal, Sweden, and the US, including 4 study trips to West Africa. Will holds a B.A. in Anthropology from UNC-Chapel Hill and has been the recipient of two NC Arts Council grants for musical projects centering around the kora. He has performed in 28 countries worldwide with various groups, and has scored productions for dance, theater, and documentary film. He currently performs and records with Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba, Grand Shores, Paperhand Puppet Intervention, and many other collaborative projects. Check out his personal website at www.willridenour.com.