Rupert Till (University of Huddersfield, UK)
One of the grand challenges of the contemporary era is how to reduce friction between Islamic and Christian rooted cultures. This project explores the potential of music as a focus for crossing cultural bridges and healing broken and challenging relationships. It involves developing new music that draws upon both cultures, framed within the contemporary genre of electronica, taking a syncretic approach. Syncretism is the amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought. To avoid a shallow pick-and-mix approach to such philosophical fusion, the project draws upon the ancient roots of Coptic Christian and Islamic Sufi traditions, each of which has embedded overlap with the other religious tradition, the Coptic due to sharing the inheritance of Pharaonic music with Islam, the Sufi because Christian Sufis exist. The project will use multimedia and audio-visual methods to visually and acoustically place performances of the music in ancient archaeological spaces, and will be disseminated through popular cultural events such as music festivals, utilizing the temporary autonomous or liminal status of such spaces to avoid conflict and focus on commonality. This presentation discusses the project’s ideas at its beginnings, and asks what potential issues will likely be raised by such work, in particular in terms of being authentic and credible within two social groups.