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Alleluia chorus to Arabic chants; Terry Grimley meets the promoter behind a concert mixing Christian and Islam music.

Byline: Terry Grimley

The baroque splendour of Birmingham Cathedral There are three cathedrals in Birmingham, England:
  • St Philip's (Church of England)
  • St Chad's (Catholic)
  • Dormition of the Mother of God and St Andrew (Greek Orthodox)
 will play host to the sounds of ancient Islamic music Islamic music is Muslim religious music, as sung or played in public services or private devotions. The classic heartland of Islam is Arabia and the Middle East, North Africa and Egypt, Iran, Central Asia, India, and Pakistan.  in an innovative concert tomorrow night.

Called "Musituality", it is a collaboration between St Mary's Schola, a capella group drawn from the choir of St Mary's, Moseley, and Birmingham-based Islamic ensemble Aa'shiq al-Rasul.

Between them, their repertoire ranges from Thomas Tallis to John Rutter John Milford Rutter CBE (born September 24 1945(1945--)) is an English composer, choral conductor, editor, arranger and record producer.  and from ancient Sufi chant to contemporary Arabic material..

The concert follows on from a successful collaboration between the two groups at the Moseley Festival.

Musician and promoter Richard Batsford, who will also be performing some of his reflective solo piano compositions in the concert, explains how the project came about.

"There are three of us involved, who are myself, Amran Ellahi and Mick Perrier, who is organist and choirmaster at St Mary's Church in Moseley," he says.

"Mick and myself first became known to each other when he recruited me for St Mary's choir when I was nine. That was when he first started at St Mary's, and he recently celebrated his 30th anniversary there.

"I met Amran, who is the driving force behind Aa'shiq al-Rasul, via a colleague on the music scene, Andrew Dubber dub 1  
tr.v. dubbed, dub·bing, dubs
1. To tap lightly on the shoulder by way of conferring knighthood.

2. To honor with a new title or description.

3.
, when I was looking for a Qawwali Qawwali (Urdu: قوٌالی, Hindi: कव्वाली) is the devotional music of the Chishti Sufis of the Indian Subcontinent. Qawwali is a vibrant musical tradition that stretches back more than 700 years.  group for a Project X event I was helping to organise.

"For the last three years I've been producing an event called Music by Candlelight at St Mary's which is part of the Moseley Festival.

It's a wide range of music that's appropriate to a church.

Aa'shiq al-Rasul were the major act at the last event, and St Mary's Schola also took part.

"Aa'shiq al-Rasul were very well received and there was a really nice atmosphere at the concert. We were particularly inspired by the coming together of Islamic and Christian elements in a Christian building, and the three of us wanted to take it further." However, he emphasises that tomorrow night's event is a concert, not an act of interfaith worship.

"The title Musituality, as you might have worked out, is a compound of music and spirituality.

"Each group will perform their own music separately. At one stage we were looking at trying to create a whole new piece of music, but there is going to be one piece at the end where we combine the Alleluia Alleluia, Latin form of the expression Hallelujah.  chorus with Arabic chanting, so there will be a comingtogether at the end.

"We very much want to take the collaboration further, and we're looking to do it again next year at a still bigger venue, perhaps the Town Hall. On a smaller scale we would like to try to take the programme, possibly with workshop things attached, to schools, churches and mosques in Birmingham and beyond.

" There is a general movement among churches to open up to music and other artistic events. They are beautiful buildings and prime community spaces." * Musituality takes place at St Philip's Cathedral tomorrow night at 7.30pm. Tickets cost pounds 8 (pounds 7 concessions and groups of four and above)..The title Musituality is a compound of music and spirituality

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Aashiq Al Rasul performing at St Mary's Church, Moseley
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 29, 2009
Words:521
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