Saturday, December 12, 2009

Radio Muezzin

This was my only visit to the Dublin Theatre Festival. A muezzin is that fellow who issues the call to prayer from mosques. This piece begins with some Cairene muezzins telling their stories. Some of them were basically amateur hobbyists, but one of them being a professional employed by the Egyptian Ministry for Religious Affairs. And then another person came on stage, a radio engineer. And then we had another muezzin, but this one just appeared on a screen, talking about how his (live) calls to prayer were going to be broadcast to every mosque in Egypt, putting the other guys out of work*. Then another fellow came onstage and said that the star muezzin had to leave the show, due to musical differences, and that he would be saying his lines henceforth.

And that was it, conceptually. The muezzins did their calling to prayer, and we got a sense of another bit of the world's greatness being swept away by pointless modernity.

* Perhaps not entirely, aside from the calling, the muezzins also function as mosque janitors.


ian said...

Ooops, thought I had set this to appear next week, so that you would see it when surfing at work.

On Look Films said...

I am really glad to read your blogpost. In March, I met with Juliane Maennel, the producer of "Radio Muezzin" as I was intersted in the similarities between our projects.

Our team, On Look Films, is documenting the adhan in Cairo as it is heard now - from thousands of muezzins - before the unification occurs.

Voices and Faces of the Adhan: Cairo is a documentary film, audio archiving and art installation project about the adhan. This 1400 year old oral tradition has never been documented or recorded for historical study, and it is about to be erased through modern technology. The film is fiscally sponsored by Hartley Film Foundation, with generous support from National Geographic's All Roads Film Project as well as Hartley Film Foundation.

Please check out the project.