Whirling Music and Words: the poetry of MathGames and Rumi

I went to see an incredible guitarist, Fareed Haque, with his band, MathGames, at River Music Experience. The bass player and drummer were “in-the-pocket” and provided a solid foundation for crazy-good guitar riffs and explorations. The interplay between the trio was nothing short of stunning.  An intricate, textured wall of sound: this is as close as I can come to describing the experience. I lack the musical literacy to articulate it further. White sheets hung behind the stage, on which were projected different images during the show. Interjected into a run of psychedelic patterns was a video featuring ecstatic whirling dervishes. This brought to mind the original whirling dervish, the 13th Century Sufi poet, Jalal al-Din Rumi.  I spoke to the band members after the show, and Fareed Haque said that, just the night before, he performed the poetry of Rumi to the music of Satie.

I found inspiration at the MathGames concert:

Fareed Haque: MathGames: 6373:


The poetry of Pablo Neruda was my first love. I discovered it through the movie, “Il Postino.” Years later I discovered Rumi, and, most recently, Hafiz.

In my opinion, Coleman Barks is the ultimate translator of Rumi into the English language. I own his The Essential Rumi, New Expanded Version  and Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing.  He, too, has performed the poetry of Rumi with a background of music.

Rumi and the Play of Poetry:


Rumi Out Beyond Ideas:


I’m on a Rumi roll:

One of the most popular episodes of the radio show On Being, is The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi.


More poetry:

The host of On Being, Krista Tippett, has a knack for finding fascinating people to interview. Another of my favorite episodes of On Being is her interview of the poet John O’Donohue.  Hear John O’Donohue recite his gorgeous poetry. O’Donohue’s poems have the same ecstatic quality as Rumi.

Peace, Love and Ecstasy,



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