Tuqus

for multi ability symphony orchestra

Bushra El-Turk

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Composer Bushra El-Turk
Year of Composition 2019
Duration ca.8'
Composer

Instrumentation

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Categories (all composers)
Catalogue ID ce-bet1t2

Notes

Tuqus (trans. ritual in Arabic) evokes the spirit of zar which is a community healing, cathartic, trance-like ritual of drumming and dancing whose tradition is carried mainly by women in secret hideaways in regions such as Egypt, East Africa and Southern Iran. Entering through the left foot, the spirit of zar is like a special wind which enters a person’s body and ‘makes them sick’. The ritual is performed in a space in which women can work out the extreme tensions and frustrations of social constraints which limit their movements, their dress, their voices and even their dreams. Tuqus shows us the turmoil that is going on inside the body, finishing with an out of body experience in which the practitioner flies outwards and gazes upon the effects of the ritual on themselves.

Seeing art as a means for social change, Bushra’s works never shy away from highlighting important socio-cultural issues that need to be voiced. In Tuqus, one sees her preoccupation with emotional health and its impact on oppressed women in their society. Frantic ululating melodies inspired by villages in the Middle East gradually extend, alternating with inflections of the 1950’s Egyptian oriental ensemble sound world. These melodies soar over a highly rhythmic and gestural backdrop often heard in zar rituals.

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