The Egyptian Darwish Troupe


The Rumi was founder of the Mawlawi sect,  which is primarily responsible for the emergence and continuation of Sufi music, religious mysticism, and the dervishes belonging to one of the Sufi orders that use music and performance as a form of expression. This expression of a personal state is to move the mortal body through the thought of Sufism by rotating for long periods in order  to transcend the physical body and enter a spiritual state. As God ordered the planets to rotate at the time of the world’s creation, thus the dervishes have achieved everything that God commanded as an act of worship by spinning like planets, also echoing the  circumambulation around the Kaaba, by starting  spinning from the left.


The vocalist Amer El Tony played a role in protecting the Egyptian Mawlawi heritage by creating the Egyptian Darwish troupe in 1994, where they use all forms of celebration to spin.  The Mawlawi Egyptian heritage has become an integral part of Sufi tradition.


The Mawlawi , which is not determined by age, sex, type or political affiliation,  blends supplication, praise and chanting in one song to have a spiritual effect on the audience. They introduce their songs to everyone without exception, and they believe that what they offer through singing is spoken to God. The clothing worn by dancers symbolizes different elements through its shape and color, the white symbolizes the shroud, and the black to the tomb, while the hooded cowl symbolizes the witness of the tomb. The Darwish troupe does not see their dancing as removed  from Islam, as some claim; they see it as movement during their spiritual Sufi gatherings and chants.


The Egyptian Darwish troupe believes that it follows the path of the Prophet Mohamed and the melting of the hearts of Muslims to obey Him through prayers and alanchadat (chants)  where the band depends on their own music  which uses the ancient poetry of Sufism, such as the poems of Hallaj and Ibn al-Farid and Suhrawardi and Rabi’a. They are also keen to maintain their alanchadat (chants)   with renewal in the tunes so the audience does not get tired.  Amer El Tony and his band do not chant the poems of Rumi because they are written in Persian and Turkish and thus would lose their meaning and spirituality if translated into Arabic.


The Egyptian Darwish troupe is involved in local and international festivals in several countries, such as India, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, and Mawlawi art is taught in Egypt in workshops.

Photo Credits: Mohamed Meteab  Cairo West  Photographer

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