Sacred Music Festival Helsinki is in September
The Wilderness Rejoices: Hebrew and spiritual songs
Suvi Lehtonen-Gräsbeck, soprano, has collected Israeli songs for years. In this concert, she will be performing songs composed by Stephen Adams, Rachel Buskin, Batya Segal and Ron Weidberg, among others. Suvi Gräsbeck is accompanied by her husband and renowned pianist Folke Gräsbeck. Folke Gräsbeck will also perform Jean Sibelius’ suite Belshazzar's Feast, based on a story in the Old Testament.
Thu 17 September 1:00 pm
Maunula Church, Metsäpurontie 15, Helsinki
Free admission, programme 10 €
Spiral – مارپیچ
A dance and music performance based on poems by the beloved classical Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (d. 1273).
Performed by linguist and reader Mikko Viitamäki, musician Kari Ikonen, and dancer Panu Varstala, the performance combines ancient Persian poetry, Arab-influenced piano music and tranquil movement.
The ancient Persian poems and their Finnish translations, the whirling abstract movement and piano music based on Arabic maqamat, create an atmosphere of ethereal and surreal beauty, with the three elements interacting with each other. World premiere of the performance.
Friday 18th September 7:00 pm
Paavali Church, Sammatintie 5, Helsinki
Tickets 10 €
Ulla Pirttijärvi and Ulda
The Sami ensemble Ulda plays modern Sami music.
Saturday 19th September 7:00 pm
Caisa cultural centre, Hall, Kaikukatu 4 B, Helsinki
Tickets 10 / 15 €
Festival film screenings
All the films are shown in cultural center Caisa Auditorium. Free entrance.
Thursday 17th September, 6:00 pm
Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, performed at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1972. The concert was recorded as the legendary live album Amazing Grace. The aim was also to make a concert film, but due to technical difficulties, the film was never completed. Forty-seven years later, the material could be restored, and cinema audiences are finally able to witness the 30-year-old Franklin, in the prime of her career, bringing the audience to its feet.
Released 2019. Duration 89 minutes. Directed by Sydney Pollack and Alan Elliott. Starring Aretha Franklin.
The Song of the Tree
Friday 18th September, 5:00 pm
The film is a musical drama about a mountain Kyrgyz village where wealth and position in society define a person’s fate and about a young man who dares to challenge the existing power structures. Visually stunning, the film draws from the musical tradition and asks questions about true love, sanctity, guilt and forgiveness. The film also gives a rare insight into the humble interpretation of Islam practiced by the local tribes. The impressive final scene with its rhythms and lyrics has interesting echoes of the Finnish protestant revivalist hymn tradition. The film uses music to express emotions that words cannot express.
Released 2019, duration 93 min. Directed by Aibek Daiyirbekov. English subtitles.
Hibridos, the Spirits of Brasil
Saturday 19th September, 5:00 pm
A poetic documentary film about the diverse mixture of religions unique to Brazil. The film introduces Candomblé, a Brazilian religion embedded in traditional African religion and Roman Catholicism. The practise of Candomblé involves music, trance and ecstasy. The French film crew followed different religious groups for four years, letting the audience witness highly mystical experiences, including the world’s largest Catholic pilgrimage in the city of Belém on the Amazon.
Released 2018, duration 90 min. Directed by Vincent Moon and Priscilla Telmon.
24 Preludes for a Fugue
Sunday 20th September, 3:00 pm
A finely drawn portrait of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and his musical thinking. The film takes the viewer on a journey from Pärt’s early compositions, the conflict with the Soviet system and the fundamental questions of art while displaying the warmth of his personality. When Pärt asks a street cleaner, how he should be composing music, the latter says, “With love for each and every note.” The renowned Chilean film director Patricio Guzmán included the film in his selection of ten films that defined him as a filmmaker for International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2019.
Released 2002, duration 87 min. Directed by Dorian Supin.