Redha Boudebagh, a traditional Issawa song prodigy

Explore Issawa Sufi Music

A night of the musical heritage of Diwane and its Sufi strand: The Issawa.

Founded in 2012, Culturama seeks to represent Algerian culture and bring the flavours of North Africa to the various UK audiences.

The upcoming evening is set to show Sufi music, traditions and talk on heritage and it’s spiritual and religious dimensions by the ethnomusicologist Tamara Turner who did extensive research in the field of Gnawa and Diwane music, essentially the afro Maghrebi music of North Africa, including music by Master Redha Boudebag, the traditional Issawa song prodigy, who grew up with the greatest Sufi masters from the region of Constantine in Algeria. The night also features some digital dub tunes with Sufi influences by Dj Afrokazba.

The founder of Culturama, Rachida Lamri whose fascination with Sufi music has led her to organise this event.”I’ve experienced Sufi Music through the Diwane and Issawa throughout my life in Algeria at weddings in the Eastern region where Trance is encouraged and much sought after and also during Diwane ceremonies (Leilat) in the south, especially in the Sahara region where a number of brotherhoods can be found and Sufism is prevalent.”

Lamri , the writer and cultural activist, believes the Sufism has become vastly known in the west in a somewhat orientalist way in what was called the “Rumi phenomenon” with the discovery of the the thirteenth-century Sufi poet and mystic and his writings which have taken the West by storm.

“It’s consumption however remains purely spiritual and philosophical.  What we aim to do here is to showcase and explore a different strand of Sufism, through music, that of the Brotherhoods of North Africa”.she says


Sufism is an integral part of the cultural fabric of North Africa and the musical landscape of Algeria. Lamri explains” Music is one of Sufism’s essential tools, used to deepen the connection with the creator and to reach the spiritual ecstasy or the state of trance and thus music and sound through chanting and drums. etc are central to the spiritual experience of Sufism. 

Culturama a non -profit organisaton focuses on North Africa Culture

Through Culturama Lamri aims to contribute to this mission with such events, to showcase the beauty, richness, and diversity of our culture through music, lectures, film, food and such.

Culturama also identifies the Algerian culture as inherently African and always aims to reclaim its African roots without negating its Arabic affiliation.

*Diwan and Issawa music at Rich Mix in London, Saturday, February 22, 6 pm.

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