Moroccan born singer and dancer, Karen Ruimy, and producer Youth have collaborated together to bring their flamenco flame to the London scene with their show ZIK’R on 21 November at Union Chapel Islington
Karen Ruimy and Youth are bringing new life and meaning to the saying, ‘music is food for the soul’. For the duo, music – especially Sufism, which their show ZIK’R takes inspiration from – is a journey far from just chords and melodies. ‘It’s also an ecstatic trance; so, there’s an hypnotic element that carries you away and speeds us into a whirl where you lose yourself to the ecstasy of the eternal present and maybe just for one timeless moment everything is one,’ eloquently expresses Youth. ZIK’R is ‘a magical and alchemical journey that offers a path towards the divine through dance and music. The central theme of the show follows the ancient tradition of eternal music and follows flamenco’s journey from India to Spain’.
ZIK’R was first showcased in the ‘powerful and spiritual land’ of India at a Sufi music festival in the ancient Meherangarh Fort in Jodhpur, explains Karen. ‘India was a very intense and life changing experience. We played under the moon with a very strong wind – it was a metaphysical moment,’ she continues. Youth remembers it as, ‘a portal for us to unknown dimensions of the music. To be accepted and applauded by great contemporary Sufi musicians gave us a lot of confidence in the authenticity and validity of what we’re doing’.
From India, Karen and Youth travelled back into the depths of the former’s culturally enriched childhood in North Africa. ‘Performing in Marrakech was like being at home. What a treat it was to feel the vibrations of my land as I danced and sung the music of my roots. There is an invisible exchange of love between oneself and the land, and one’s history in those moments that no one can really describe.’
Fortunately, the next stop for the spiritual duo is here in London at the renowned Union Chapel in Islington on 21 November. ‘I am very excited as I have never performed there before, but have seen many gigs there. The atmosphere and the acoustics are perfect for this show,’ Youth states.
Karen agrees: ‘It’s such a gorgeous and ambient venue, perfect for a spiritual show such as this.’ Audiences can expect ‘something like you will have never seen before incorporating music, dance and a video art installation,’ says Youth. ‘It’s primarily a fusion of inspiration from traditional and ancient Sufi music and flamenco from Southern Spain, as well as many Middle Eastern influences too. Our music is all connected, which is why it doesn’t actually sound like fusion at all – just beautiful music. ZIK’R really is a journey from East to West joining the correspondences in all peoples’ lives regardless of where you are from – your heart is your home.’
There will be five free pairs of tickets for our readers to see ZIK’R on Friday 21 November 2014 at Union Chapel. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Resident/ZIKR’ by 20 November at 10 AM for your chance to see Karen Ruimy and Youth perform.
Words: Gabriella Werre