May 26th, 2010
Swaziland's Bushfire Festival, a three-day music art and multi-cultural event happening from the 28th - 30th May, will this year play host to star talent such as BLK JKS, The Parlotones, Babu and Moreira Project, as well as world-renowned US poet Coleman Barks for a performance of works written by 13th Century Sufi poet Rumi.
Since its inception in 2007 the Bushfire Festival has grown
in leaps and bounds with record turnouts of over 10 000 in
House on Fire, the fantastical outdoor Afro-Shakespearean ‘Globe Theatre' situated on a
picturesque farm in Swaziland's Ezulwini Valley, has been creatively unfluenced Rumi's 800-year-old insights with his poems physically carved into its foundations
In his poem "One Song" - the chosen theme for this year's Bushfire - Rumi's poem reveals his relevance to Africa's societal issues by what Barks describes as "pointing not to what divides us, but to what we share":
"All religions, all this singing,
The differences are just illusion and vanity. Sunlight
Looks slightly different
On this wall than it does on that wall and a lot different
On this other one."
- Extract from "One Song" taken from "The Soul of Rumi", translated by Coleman Barks.
His international best-seller, The Essential Rumi, and numerous Rumi translations, have seen Barks become the foremost authority on the works of the mystic poet, reaching a devoted, inspired, and ever-widening international audience.
Now living in Athens, Georgia, Barks was born and raised in Tennessee and has taught poetry and creative writing for over 30 years at the University of Georgia. Through a new partnership and financial backing from The US Embassy, Bushfire has invited Barks, to perform Rumi's work at this year's festival, which also showcases a top line-up of live music, theatre, dance, film and interactive workshops.
"What we're trying to do here at Bushfire Festival is create a melting pot for creativity -and Rumi's broad appeal and spirituality speak across borders and boundaries, lifting one from a sense of worldliness," says Bushfire festival director Jiggs Thorne speaking of the significance of bringing Barks to the festival.
"It really is a massive coup to have Coleman coming to Swaziland. Having one of the world's top poets wanting to perform at Bushfire really shows the growth of the festival as a world-class event."
Barks will perform a selection of pieces during the Sunday programme, accompanied by Ronan Skillen, a top percussionist from SA, who will also perform over the festival weekend with his band BABU.
"(Rumi's poetry) has always been performed with music, which helps the words go deeper into the heart," says Coleman of the new collaboration initiated by Thorne.
In a region where poetry and music are both plentiful in tradition, Bushfire hopes to open the door to more artists who share their enthusiasm for collaborational performances such as Barks' partnership with Skillen, as well as inspiring their audience with world- class artists such as Rumi, whose relevance is timeless.
"It is so important in these potentially, dangerously, sectarian times that we appeal to what holds our fragile world together. Rumi's poetry seems to be one of those things," says Barks, who has never been to southern Africa. "I have heard about the beauty of the place and its people. I look forward to taking all that in."
Date: Friday 28th May - Sunday 30th May 2010
• Friday 7pm - close: Bushfire Opening
• Saturday: Doors open 10am - 3.30am (Sunday)
• Sunday: Doors open 11am - 10pm
Venue: House on Fire, Malandela's Farm in the Malkerns Valley, Swaziland.
Pre-booking encouraged: Limited 4 000 tickets per day
Online Pre-sale Tickets available from 1st March at:
www.computicket.com (SA) or www.swazi.travel (International)
Tight Security: Secure parking and ground surveillance
Food Fair: Swaziland Beverages Beer Tent and Multiple Bar Facilities.
* PLEASE NOTE: No food or drinks will be allowed onto the premises