In 2010, the group Bab Assalam gave their last concert in Syria at the citadel of Aleppo, accompanied by a dozen whirling dervishes. It was a celebration. Then came war, massacres, and exile. The group, now reunited in France, is now recreating their magic with a "touring" concert where trance becomes circus poetry.
The hypnotic universe of Sufi dance goes back to the great 13th century Persian poet Rumi, who extolled the quest for an inner spirituality, a mysticism centered on tolerance. Bab Assalam combines this spiritual quest with a renewed form of performance where movements become one with the music. Dervishes no longer belong to the past; Sylvain Julien reinvents them for the world by juggling hoops and searching for perpetual motion.
With Derviche [Dervish], Bab Assalam has composed a Western version of the dervish circle in a musical suite that has been transcended by the art of the circus. Here, the voices of two Syrian musicians are joined by a harmony of ouds and percussion instruments that blend with the contemporary sounds of the bass clarinet and electro. Together it forms an ode to love and an extended trance that transports onlookers to a state of ecstasy.
Music Bab Assalam
Khaled Aljaramani: oud, vocals
Mohanad Aljaramani: percussion, oud, vocals
Raphaël Vuillard: clarinettes, live electronic music
Artistic and technical collaborator Emmanuel Sauldubois
Dance, hoops Sylvain Julien
Outside perspectives Jean Lacornerie & Heinzi Lorenzen
Dance oversight Annette Labry
Lights Dominique Ryo
Costumes Céline Pigeot
Coproduction L’Autre Côté du Monde Production / Théâtre de la Croix Rousse-Lyon
Support DRAC / Region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes / City of Lyon / SPEDIDAM / ADAMI
Partners Institut du Monde Arabe / Auditorium de Montélimar / La Cascade national circus center / Espace Tonkin in Villeurbanne
"A kind of transcendental quest, a vertical movement towards the divine."
– Profession Spectacle
"Turn dervish...It's beautiful enough to make you dizzy!"
– Paris MÔMES
Bab Assalam is a Franco-Syrian journey, a trio of virtuoso musicians, airy sounds, and sweet songs that exude peace.
Bab Assalam incites us to experience musical meditation beyond traditional notions of time and space. Situated somewhere between East and West, this is the music of migration and an invitation to tolerance.
From their first meeting in Syria in 2005 to their exile in 2011, Bab Assalam (the door of peace) traveled throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. The arrival of the Syrian musicians in France after their exile pushed the acoustic trio to the frontier between world music and electro-rock. They began to create musical performances that tell stories of exile, migration, and the journey of ideas.
In 2018, they crossed paths with the circus artist Sylvain Julien, who has a creative obsession with hoops and a unique vocabulary made up of constraints, exploits, oddities, and diverse energies.
The constant search for the convergence of East and West is at the heart of their musical project. Together, they bring to life the Syrian spirit of the dervishes of Aleppo. And by revisiting the figure of the dervish in a modern context, they have embarked on a joyful yet profound quest.