Sadler's Wells Theatre - MTO Zendeh Delan
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Sadler's Wells Theatre

30 March 2014


The London Premier of Zendeh Delan® ‘Awakened Hearts’

MTO Sufi Society’s Zendeh Delan® ensemble presented Sufi music, zekr and sama for the first time in London at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. 

The event took place on Sunday, 30 March 2014 and consisted of a two-hour programme depicting the spiritual dimensions of Sufism through a fusion of Persian and Western classical music, zekr (chants) and the spiritual movements of sama.

The Setting

The 1500-person audience had traveled from throughout Europe and the US especially for this momentous event. The iconic theatre was transformed for one night, in remembrance of the Beloved. On stage sat an ensemble of fifty with a range of instruments from both the East and West. 

Throughout the night, the words of the Sufi masters came to life. The Zendeh Delan® members presented the intricate forms of zekr and sama, each of which depicted a certain state achieved in the spiritual path of Sufism. Speakers read explanations about the motions, and shared the profound teachings of Sufism through poetry.


The lyrics of the zekr were from the writings of such renowned Sufi masters as Hazrat Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha and Hazrat Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha. These Sufi Masters were and are experts in literature, the sciences, and metaphysics. Their works in prose and poetry contain a treasure of wisdom, insights and loving guidance. The night included a carefully selected range from many of the eminent Sufi Masters including Hazrat Jalaleddin Ali Mir Abolfazl Angha and Hazrat Mir Ghotbeddin Mohammad Angha.


The zekr illustrated the spiritual stages of the development of the salek (seeker). The remarkable rhythmic, swaying movements of the singers reflected deep symbolism regarding the inner flow of energy. Each person has powerful internal resources which, when activated, open the individual to experience more of life and its infinite wonders. The choirs and soloists were outstanding, singing in a heart-felt manner with delicacy, warmth and vigour.

The Music

The musical accompaniment was truly spell-binding, blending traditional and contemporary Sufi music. Traditional instruments such as the santour, daf, tar, and kamanche gave the music a wonderful resonance. These were complemented by a range of modern instruments (e.g. violin, guitar). Together this created a unique sound, with a richness, lightness and depth which enhanced and interwove beautifully with the zekr (chants).  


The timing and intuitive mastery of the instruments was laudable and impressive. The melodies rose, fell and flowed, in a haunting and captivating manner. This exceptional music was composed and arranged by Ram Khatabakhsh.

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