NAWA: Ancient Sufi Invocations & Forgotten Songs from Aleppo (Lost Origins/Electric Cowbell)
Aleppo had always been Syria’s cultural center, a place where minority groups usually coexisted. The country’s civil war changed that, especially the depredations of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a jihadist group seeking to destroy anything out of sync with their own militant brand of Islam. American punk rock drummer-turned-documentarian Jason Hamacher may have arrived with recorders just in time; his 2010 field trip resulted in Ancient Sufi Invocations, a recording of the solemnly ecstatic musical traditions of Aleppo’s Sufi lodges. One wonders if the hypnotic, mostly vocal music caught here can still be heard. A mystical variant of Islam, the Sufis have been among the many targets of Islamist militants determined to erect a brutal theocracy.