The Galata Mevlevi Music and Sema Ensemble, under the direction of Al Sheik Nail Kesova, brings to audiences around the world the beauty and spirituality of the Sema, the Mevlevi whirling ritual, and the tradition of Mevlevi music. The Whirling Dervishes of Turkey were proclaimed as a Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005. The "Proclamation of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" Programme was launched by UNESCO in 1997 to raise public awareness about the value of the intangible elements of heritage and the need to safeguard them .For more than 700 years, the Mevlevi brotherhood defined the spiritual life of the Ottoman Empire. Sufism, and especially the Mevlevis, gave birth to well known poets, musicians, theologians and politicians. Travelers to the Orient noticed the Mevlevis mainly because of their “Sema“, the ritual whirling dance. The brotherhood of the Whirling Dervishes became familiar worldwide as the symbol of oriental mysticism.
The Galata Mevlevi Music and Sema Ensemble is very much part of the so called avant-garde tradition of the brotherhood. Sheik Nail Kesova has composed a number of liturgical pieces for the group. In collaboration with Asian and western musicians and orchestras, they have created new interpretations of traditional oriental and mystic compositions. Perhaps one of the most important activities of the group has been to continue the tradition of the Mevlevi Order to educate young, talented musicians in the sophisticated art of classical mystic music, in addition to bringing the haunting beauty of the whirling ritual, the Sema, to people throughout the world.
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