The Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies supports events that increase awareness of the history and cultures of the Middle East and Muslim civilizations, and values diverse perspectives that promote dialogue and understanding. Events listed here originate from a variety of campus units and community organizations. The listing of an event does not constitute endorsement of or agreement with the views presented therein.

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Past Events › A Sufi Journey, Sacred/Secular

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September 2016

Hossein Alizadeh | Mystical Music

September 9, 2016 | 8:00 pm
Memorial Hall, 114 East Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill , 27599 United States
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One of the most important figures in contemporary Iranian music, master composer, instrumentalist, conductor, researcher and teacher Hossein Alizadeh performs new interpretations of classical Persian music. Within this expansive tradition, he continues his incomparable reinventions of melodies handed down from master to student through generations.  A virtuoso player of the tar, sehtar and Azeri tar (Iran’s ancient plucked lutes), he has appeared throughout Europe and North America as a soloist and member of the Masters of Persian Music supergroup, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for…

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Ping Chong + Company | Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity

September 18, 2016 | 7:30 pm
Memorial Hall, 114 East Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill , 27599 United States
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Ping Chong + Company’s interview-based theater production Beyond Sacred delves into the diverse stories of young Muslims who came of age in a post-9/11 New York City. The participants personify a range of Muslim identities, from converts to Islam to those who have drifted from their beliefs, from secular or cultural Muslims to stringent observers of the faith. Coming from varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds, they differ in many ways but share similar experiences and emotions in a time of increasing Islamophobia. Beyond Sacred illuminates the daily lives of Muslim Americans in…

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A Staged Reading of The Hour of Feeling by Mona Mansour

September 29, 2016 | 7:30 pm
Playmakers Theatre, Chapel Hill, NC United States + Google Map

For the first time, we’re collaborating with our friends at PlayMakers Repertory Company in celebration of our Sacred/Secular: A Sufi Journey project. We’ll be presenting two readings of two plays at Historic PlayMakers Theatre this season that depict the tension between the sacred and the secular in contemporary Muslim life. Their stories give us an entry into the complexities of navigating everyday life amidst a rapidly changing cultural landscape.   Tickets just $10   In 1967, as the map of the Middle East is about to be redrawn,…

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October 2016

Screening & Discussion of I Bring What I Love

October 17, 2016 | 7:00 pm
FedEx Global Education Center, 301 Pittsboro Street
Chapel Hill, NC United States
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Join us for a screening of I Bring What I Love, a portrait of pop star Youssou N’Dour and his efforts to record Egypt, an album in response to negative perceptions of Islam. This event is free and open to the public. More info about Youssou can be found here: https://www.carolinaperformingarts.org/ros_perf_series/sufi-songs-youssou-ndour/

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Youssou N’Dour | Sufi Songs

October 25, 2016 | 7:30 pm
Memorial Hall, 114 East Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill , 27599 United States
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Throughout a 30-year recording career, Youssou N’Dour’s roots in Senegalese traditional music and griot storytelling have remained the hallmark of his artistic personality. Transforming his native mbalax music with influences from Cuban rumba, reggae, hip hop, jazz and soul, he is a daring innovator and staunch protector of the unique “Dakar overgroove.” N’Dour and his high-energy band Super Etoile fashion a sound that is both characteristically Senegalese and outward-looking—a contagiously exciting synthesis of musical languages. This performance features a selection of songs from the Sufi tradition including music…

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Susan Deyhim | The House is Black

October 28, 2016 | 8:00 pm
Memorial Hall, 114 East Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill , 27599 United States
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Inspired by the works of Forough Farrokhzad, one of Iran’s most influential feminist poets and filmmakers, this stirring multimedia piece sheds light on the importance of Iranian contemporary arts. Iranian American performance artist/composer Sussan Deyhim examines the prophetic vision of Farrokhzad, whose message is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago when she died at the age of 32. Co-directed by award-winning director Robert Egan, The House is Black features Deyhim’s striking visual projections along with archival footage including Farrokhzad’s 1965 interview with Bernardo Bertolucci. The original score…

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January 2017

Performance: Eko Nugroho | Wayang Bocor

January 20, 2017 | 8:00 pm
Memorial Hall, 114 East Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill , 27599 United States
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Among the most arresting of Indonesia’s young contemporary artists, Eko Nugroho came to maturity during the upheaval and reform following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the subsequent fall of the Suharto regime and the transition to democracy in Indonesia. Deeply engaged with the culture of his time, he is committed to making socio-political commentary in his work. His creations are grounded in both local tradition and global popular culture, with influences from contemporary street art, graffiti and comics. Inspired by traditional Indonesian shadow puppetry, Wayang Bocor is a multimedia staged…

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Performance: Nani | Topeng Losari

January 27, 2017 | 8:00 pm
Hill Hall, UNC-CH
Chapel Hill, NC United States
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The extraordinary range of dance forms in Indonesia is a reflection of the country’s huge diversity of cultures and ethnicities. Originating in Cirebon on the north coast of West Java, the Topeng Losari mask dance is rooted in indigenous Javanese culture. Award-winning seventh-generation mask dancer Nani is working to revive this highly dramatic, opulently costumed tradition. Demanding exceptional agility and stamina, the mask dances (“topeng” dances) of Losari are steeped in mysticism and magic, with the belief that masks transfer special powers to the wearer. Nani always…

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February 2017

Performance: Philip Glass and Laurie Anderson | Words and Music in Two Parts

February 10, 2017 | 8:00 pm
Memorial Hall, 114 East Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill , 27599 United States
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Unique to Carolina Performing Arts, this program blends a rare musical collaboration between two giants of the avant-garde of the past 50 years—Philip Glass and Laurie Anderson—with one of Glass’s most important song cycles, Monsters of Grace. Longtime friends, Glass and Anderson will share musical moments and poetry readings followed by a selection of Glass songs featuring lyrics by 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi, performed by The Philip Glass Ensemble and a cast of longtime Glass vocalists including Tara Hugo, Marie Mascari, Gregory Purnhagen and Peter Stewart. “Laurie…

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A Staged Reading of The Who and the What by Ayad Akhtar

February 16, 2017 | 7:30 pm
Playmakers Theatre, Chapel Hill, NC United States + Google Map

For the first time, we’re collaborating with our friends at PlayMakers Repertory Company in celebration of our Sacred/Secular: A Sufi Journey project. We’ll be presenting two readings of two plays at Historic PlayMakers Theatre this season that depict the tension between the sacred and the secular in contemporary Muslim life. Their stories give us an entry into the complexities of navigating everyday life amidst a rapidly changing cultural landscape.   Tickets just $10 Zarina, a talented Pakistani-American writer, has put her personal life on hold to finish her…

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March 2017

Performance: Ajoka Theatre | Dara

March 2, 2017 | 7:30 pm
Memorial Hall, 114 East Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill , 27599 United States
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Known for staging socially critical performances, Pakistan’s renowned Ajoka Theatre is committed to ideals of peace and tolerance. Shahid Nadeem’s spellbinding play Dara tells the dramatic story of Dara Shikoh—eldest son of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan—who was imprisoned and executed by his younger brother Aurangzeb. A crown prince, poet, painter and Sufi, Dara wanted to build on the vision of Akbar the Great and bring the ruling Muslim elite closer to the local religions. Exploring the violent struggle between brothers, the decisive role played by their sisters Jahan Ara…

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Performance: Martha Graham Dance Company

March 23, 2017 | 7:30 pm - March 24, 2017 | 7:30 pm
Memorial Hall, 114 East Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill , 27599 United States
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Hailed for its commitment to the leading edge of modern dance, the Martha Graham Dance Company performs adventurous new works created by some of today’s top dance-makers side by side with the most profound and influential choreography by Martha Graham. Often compared with Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky and Coco Chanel, this revolutionary artist is an icon of 20th-century modernism. The Company embodies her uniquely American style of dance, which has influenced generations of artists and captivated audiences worldwide. This program features a CPA Commissioned Work by choreographer…

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Performance: Sounds of Kolachi

March 31, 2017 | 8:00 pm
Memorial Hall, 114 East Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill , 27599 United States
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Like an Indian Ocean blast from the seaport megacity it calls home, the new 10-piece supergroup of vocalists and instrumentalists from Karachi (formerly known as Kolachi) blurs raga and western harmony, counterpoint and South Asian melodic lines, all without losing the groove. In this instantly listenable ensemble, South Asian classical instruments like the sitar and bowed sarangi are on equal footing with electric guitar and rock rhythm section. Guiding the journey, composer, theorist and singer Ahsan Bari spins outrageous, bluesy, modal riffs. Like the West’s Son Lux…

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April 2017

Performance: Sanam Marvi

April 12, 2017 | 7:30 pm
Memorial Hall, 114 East Cameron Avenue
Chapel Hill , 27599 United States
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With enthralling performances that draw deeply from one of the world’s great music traditions, Sanam Marvi is Pakistan’s next inspiring diviner of South Asia’s humanist, folk and Sufi texts. A vocal warrior for tolerance, pirituality and peace, her renditions balance immediacy and elegant ornamentation, lending new light to a cherished repertoire of Sufi, Ghazal, qawwali and folk songs. An in-demand artist too rarely heard outside émigré circles, this rising star’s revelatory interpretations of the sub-continent’s mystics reach across cultural borders…

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