Special Opening at WOMEX by Three Cultures Foundation

Berlin, Germany – WOMEX, the largest international conference for world music professionals, announced today a special Opening, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture of Spain and Fundación Tres Culturas (Three Cultures Foundation) in Honor of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.

It will feature a special performance by Qawwali-Flamenco, featuring Faiz Ali Faiz and his Qawwali Group (Pakistan) and Duquende, Chicuelo and Group (Spain). The musicians released a CD recently titled Qawwali-Flamenco.

The concert will be followed by a first for WOMEX, a generous selection of Spanish tapas, drinks and DJ Lord Sasafras (Spain), all to be held at the famed Teatro Lope de Vega/Casino de la Exposición in the city center on Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 20:00. WOMEX delegates don’t need to register first. WOMEX organizers will have a delegate list at the Teatro, and registration can be done on Thursday.

January 2008 will see the official opening of The First Alliance of Civilizations Forum in Madrid, in recognition of the role Spain and its Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, played in its creation. It was in 2005 that the Prime Minister called on the United Nations to create an initiative "to increase world awareness to the risks that a wall of misunderstanding may arise between the West and the Arab/Islamic world, and thus the threat of the ‘clash of civilizations’ may become a reality and put at risk the many positive aspects of mutual relations, and even imperil the whole framework of international relations." The United Nations agreed, and the Prime Minster of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, came on board as co-sponsor with Spain.

The Mission: The Alliance of Civilizations responds to the need, felt across many divides, for a committed effort by the international community – both at the institutional and civil levels – to overcome prejudice, misconceptions, misperceptions, and polarization. The Alliance will address dominant narratives in diverse societies, with the aim of providing an effective response to emerging threats to world peace emanating from hostile perceptions that foment violence, and it will also seek initiatives aiming to bridge these divisions.

Events of recent years have heightened the sense of a widening gap between Islamic and Western societies. This environment has been exploited and exacerbated by extremists in all societies. Thus there is a need for a comprehensive coalition to counter the trend toward extremism and avert a deterioration of relations between societies, which could further threaten international stability. An Alliance of Civilizations is a reaffirmation of the increasing interdependence of all societies around the world, be it in the environmental or health sectors; in economic, financial, or security relations; in culture; and in the field of development.

In essence, the call for an Alliance is a call to all of those who believe in building rather than destroying, who embrace diversity as a means of progress rather than as a threat, and who believe in the dignity of humankind across religion, ethnicity, race, and culture.

"We encourage all our delegates to read the Alliance support materials and to check its website," said a WOMEX press release. " WOMEX is especially honoured to provide a platform to publicise the aims of the Alliance of Civilizations. The sponsorship of this event was made courtesy of the Spanish Ministry of Culture and coordinated by the Fundación Tres Culturas, the Sevilla-based organisation dedicated to cultural tolerance and the promotion of dialogue, peace and tolerance amongst the Mediterranean people and cultures."

The Opening Concert: Qawwali-Flamenco

A meeting of minds, of traditions, of cultures. The roots of Qawwali and flamenco music entwine deep in the soil of South Asia, sharing both spiritual and musical affinities. From an early age both Faiz Ali Faiz and Duquende have been hailed as the successors to the greatest names in their respective fields. Faiz has been cited as the true bearer of the Qawwali flame, following in the footsteps of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

For Duquende it was the famed cantaor El Camarón de la Isla who, hearing the nine-year-old singer, praised him effusively, a seal of approval he has proudly borne ever since. Both have more than lived up to the expectations that accompany such accolades and have gone on to make their own unique mark on the international stage. And now, with the Qawwali-Flamenco project, they bring together their powerful voices in a special meeting of unforgettable virtuosity and emotion. Add to it the accompanying Qawwali musicians and the superlative guitar of Chicuelo and we have a collaboration that is truly a living alliance of two great civilizations.

Buy the CD Qawwali-Flamenco.

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