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Mystical music of Sufism comes to LaGuardia CC

Renowned Turkish Sufi mystic folk musician Latif Bolat will be performing at the Little Theater in Long Island City May 2 in a free concert put on by the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and the Carnegie Hall Concert Series.

Bolat specializes in the ancient Turkish mystic devotional music genre, drawing inspiration from 13th century poets such as Yunus Emre, Hadji Bektashi Veli and Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi.

Reviewers have described his concerts as intimate, soothing affairs, where Bolat creates a "storytelling" atmosphere. His performances involve recitation of Sufi poetry accompanied by the baglama, a traditional Turkish stringed instrument that resembles a guitar. Throughout the concert, Bolat will tell stories that explain the history and idea of Sufism, conventionally understood as a mystic branch of Islam aiming for the unity of all things.

"Any mysticism, especially Sufism, is based on the idea of humanism and universalism. Therefore, Sufi ideas reinforce the humanistic approach to world events," Bolat said. "Universalism can break all the official borders to reach out to everyone regardless of the religion, race or political preference."

Bolat is a native of the Turkish Mediterranean town of Mersin. After receiving his degree in folklore and music at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey, he taught traditional music throughout the country. He then went on to manage Ankara Halk Tiyatrosu, a musical theater company that performed traditional musical plays.

Bolat has produced four compact discs and co-written a book on Sufi poetry. His song list for the upcoming concert will include tracks from all of his albums. Scheduled are tracks three, four and eight on "Eyvallah"; tracks one and three on "Ashkolsun"; tracks one and three on "Infinite Beginning"; and tracks 19, 20 and 21 on "Gul: The Rose."

The Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall has been bringing free music to the boroughs with the Carnegie Hall Concert Series for over 32 years. Bolat is just one of a slew of musicians slated for this summer from across the globe, coming to concert halls near you.

Other concerts include the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, which plays high-energy funk and jazz, on June 5 at the Langston Hughes Library in Corona and Dja-rara, who play Haitian marching music, on June 28 at the Flushing Library.

Concerts and venues can be found on Carnegie Hall's Web site: www.carnegiehall.org/neighborhoodconcerts.

If You Go:

Latif Bolat

When: May 31, 2 p.m.

Where: LPAC's Little Theatre, 47 Ave. and Van Dam St., Long Island City

Cost: Free

Contact: 718-482-5985 or visit www.laguardiaperformingarts.org

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