Rapture Rumi
by Steven Flynn

Reviewed by Patina Rayna Maya

Steven Flynn has created an exquisite new CD titled "Rapture Rumi" (also available on cassette). The compositions are inspired by the poetry of 13th century mystic Jelaluddin Rumi (AKA a Whirling Dervish). The music was originally created for Robert Davidson's dance production also named "Rapture Rumi", which premiered in Seattle, Washington at "On the Boards". In fact, the over-all feel of this CD has a unique continuity that brings to my mind an evolving story. The music itself has a fresh new quality combined
with familiar Steven Flynn'isms'. Along with Steven's ney (reed flute), tar (frame drum), and synthesizers, Armando Mafufo adds his percussive magic with dumbek and tar, Karl Sacksteder plays digeridoo in two cuts, and Jeffrey Sick plays violin in one cut.

Rapture Rumi opens with "Prolog: the Poems" in which Steven presents 4 excerpts from poems by Rumi. His voice carries many shades of passion, from dark and haunting, to joyfully bright. The next song is "Shems", a beautiful, refreshing, slow tempo song with digeridoo and nay. I find myself imagining an intimate ceremony or ritual, perhaps in a group with candles and then veils as the tempo increases slightly. The third song, called "Circling", is much more up-beat, with synthesizers and
percussion. Number four, "Rhythm Dance", with synthesizers, ney, and lots of percussion has a very captivating, steady, beat. It's lively and at the same time trance like. Number five, "Selem" is indicated to be traditional Turkish. "Selem" is the shortest song on the CD, with ney and percussion only, it is beautiful, and stately, in its simplicity.

Number six on the CD, or the first on side B of the cassette, is "Lights". This one has a lovely flowing melody from the synthesizer, with a medium tempo percussion support. Number seven, is "Longing". This one is especially well titled and is a perfect example of Steven's ability to stir and awaken heart and soul with his ney. Then the tempo raises with drums and ney, in a way that make the senses seem suddenly sharper. Next, number eight, "Rumi & Shems/Zikr", opens with a slow percussive rhythm that is joined by an emotion stirring violin. Well into the song the violin disappears, and a voice joins in with one repeated sound. The voice and rhythm gradually pick up to a driving tempo, then suddenly slows and fades into ecstatic release. The final song, "Epilogue: the Disappearance of Shems", feels to me more like a gentle return to reality. With digeridoo, synthesizer, and ney, this song gently lifts me from the afterglow of the ending in "Rumi & Shems/Zikr". But then, this is not considered music to make love by for nothing.

Each song contains an oddly familiar sense of what it is to be held by one or more of this life's passions.This music is very dancable, although you won't be able to put together a modern Egyptian routine from it. For listening, either as a support for meditation, or background for any number of pleasant activities, this music is a delightful experience.

More Belly Dance Music by Steven Flynn
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Read more: Music to Dance, Make Love and Die By, by Delilah