Monday, December 3, 2012

IFC Concert Preview: DC-Area Baha'i Drum Circle

Members of the DC-Area Baha'i Drum Circle on Thursday 

This year the 33rd Annual InterFaith Concert will feature a DC-area Baha’i Drum Circle. I was fortunate to talk to Carroll, Leroy and Abdu’l-Karim who will be three of the nine members performing at this Thursday’s concert.

“A group started some 20 years ago and that group, as they grew, incorporated drums into their praying session and devotions. So it’s primarily a part of our devotional program and none of us are really performers. We just do it in a devotional sense,” explains Carroll, who has been in the drum circle the longest, about 10-11 years. Two other members, Leroy and Abdu’l-Karim, have both been involved about 5-6 years each.

In the Baha’i tradition music is described as a “ladder for the ascent of the soul,” says Carroll. “So what it means to me personally is that it truly lifts the spirit. It brings you to a higher state of spiritual consciousness.”

Both Leroy and Abdu’l-Karim mentioned this idea of an uplifting feeling or elevation of the spirit.

“Something about the drumming strikes a soulful tone,” says Leroy. “Not that it has a spiritual base, but it clearly is very uplifting.”

Abdu'l-Karim, Leroy & Carroll

“While working one day I sang some songs with some not-very-good lyrics, songs from off the radio. And my energy level was very low,” says Abdu’l-Karim while describing the difference he experiences in his spirit when singing different forms of music. “And then I started singing prayers later on and my energy level was very high. I thought this was odd so I did this several times throughout the work day and I noticed repeatedly that, when I put myself into a state of prayer through song, I was better than when I put myself into a state of distress through song. So the concept of music being a ladder for the soul is not simply a theoretical or metaphysical concept. I think that is very real. That we can put ourselves physically into harmony or out of harmony with what God wants for us in this world.”

What would they like the audience to gain from their performance on Thursday? “We want to inculcate our little piece of the Baha’i drum circle into the overall mix,” says Leroy. “And that's what makes this program so vibrant, so beautiful.”

InterFaith Conference invites you to experience the uplifting spirit of the Baha’i faith on December 6, 2012 at the Washington Hebrew Congregation. Concert starts at 7:30 and tickets are available online, by mail-in order, or by calling (202) 234-6300. 

Author: Misha Davies

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