Painting of musical instruments,
Painting of musical instruments, Photo by Yoram Buzaglo
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Moti Kimche
Berry Sakharof. Photo by Moti Kimche

Artists from around the world come together in this 24-hour marathon of music, spirituality and culture, beginning Thursday evening in Jerusalem.

Most events will take place at the Tower of David Museum. A huge drum has been installed on its roof, which will be acting as the beating heart of the festival. Musicians will take turns providing a non-stop beat during the 24-hour celebration, which includes music, poetry, sacred chanting and guided tours.

All of it is aimed at promoting a message of inter-faith unity and compassion by exploring the sanctity of the different traditions that converge in the city that is holy to so many faiths.

The festival opens with a selection of concerts such as “the secrets of the music of Persia” – a guide to the mysteries of ancient Persian music, and a performance by the New Jerusalem Orchestra, expressing longing for the holy city through songs in Hebrew, Arabic and Amharic.

While at the festival, you might want to check out “testimony tours,” which provide a guide to the sacred music and spirituality of the city. These include tours of the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, Ethiopian, Franciscan and Armenian morning prayers at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and a Slichot (prayers of atonement) workshop.

Events will continue into the wee hours as the Tower of David hosts sacred Mbira music from Zimbabwe, a Sufi dance workshop, and a Zikr ritual from the Sufi-Sunni tradition. 

Popular Israeli rock artist Berry Sakharof is set to perform as sunrise approaches, and Friday will see yet more concerts including a celebration of Moroccan music, and the Diwan project, a collaboration celebrating sacred melodies.

The Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival begins Thursday 6th September at 18.00. Details: www.jerusalemseason.com