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Directed by Eric Banks
The Esoterics proudly presents RU'IA, its ninth CD recording. Titled with an Arabic word meaning 'dreams' or 'visions,' this is the first American choral CD inspired entirely by Islamic scripture and poetry. The repertoire includes: Mombasa matatu meditation by Vancouver composer Hussein Janmohamed - a choral cityscape wherein Muslim chant emerges from the morning din of urban Kenya; Bern Herbolsheimer's Kader kic [The night of destiny] - a setting of verses by Tatar poet Gabdulla Tukai about the holiest night in Ramadan; and the Islamic-inspired Priere by Dutch composer Ton de Leeuw. The centerpiece of this recording is a 50-minute a cappella choral dreamscape by The Esoterics' founder Eric Banks entitled Twelve Qur'anic visions. In addition to studying the Qur'an, Banks researched this piece during his extensive travel to India and Indonesia over the course of two years. The resulting work unveils the essence of Muslim faith, including visions of the creation, the beauty of nature, the wisdom of the prophets, the afterlife in Hell and Paradise, the injustice of aggression, and the path to peace. Banks was strongly motivated to write and record this piece to initiate listeners in the West to one of the most prevalent yet misunderstood religions in the world.