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Wofford to present Coleman Barks in ‘Rumi Concert’ Nov. 10

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – “The Rumi Concert: A Turning Night of Stars,” featuring poet and translator Coleman Barks and a trio of musicians, will come to Wofford College’s Leonard Auditorium on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. The performance is free and open to the public.

The “classically innovative” evening will feature the poetry of 13th century mystic Rumi with music, dance and story. In addition to Barks, world-renowned for his translations and recitation of Rumi, the cast includes cellist David Darling, percussionist Glen Velez, and Zuleikha, whose dance and story help animate Rumi’s poetry.

“Spartanburg can look forward to a stunning collaboration with these four inventive artists as they bring the lyrical and spiritual power of Rumi to life in this remarkably moving performance,” says Wofford President Benjamin B. Dunlap.

Barks’ most recent translation, “The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems,” joins his bestseller, “The Essential Rumi,” in “touching the hearts of people from all walks of life,” according to a review. More information on Barks and his translations can be found at www.colemanbarks.com.

Darling is said to celebrate the human spirit through “his provocative, eclectic music.” He has toured with Paul Winter Consort and has performed with, among others, Bobby McFerrin and Spyro Gyra. His 2002 “Cello Blue” recording was a 2002 Grammy nominee. For more information on Darling, visit www.daviddarling.com.

Velez is an internationally recognized frame drummer, composer, scholar and teacher. He has performed with Paul Winter Consort since 1983, Steve Reich & Musicians, Israeli Philharmonic, and Eddy Daniels, and has recorded for many major labels. For more information, go to www.glenvelez.com.

Performance artist Zuleikha “transports her audiences into a whirlwind fusion of spirit, rhythm, dance and stories of nature, world lore and life itself.” Zuleikha performs internationally with her one-woman concert and collaborations with world musicians and poets. More information can be found at www.storydancer.com.

Rumi (1207-1273) was a teacher, mystic and founder of what is known as “Whirling Dervishes,” and a poet of lyrical spiritual power, according to Barks. Born in Afghanistan, Rumi was teaching in Konya, Turkey, in 1244 when he met the powerful spiritual seeker, Shams of Tabriz. Through his association with Shams, Rumi found a deeper level within himself, which he called “The Friend.” Rumi created some 20,000 poems as oral extemporizations that were recorded by his students. He believed that prayer has a form and physical equivalent, that every thought has an expressive action. Many of his verses are fervent love poems, although the eroticism is a metaphor of the soul’s longing for God’s love, Barks says. “His poetry reflects the transcendent longing we all feel. Rumi speaks to the times. He sees the divine in grace and kindness, and also in the terrible things, revealing to us the ecstasy that resides at the deepest core of experience, and the way out of sorrow,” he adds.