Rachel Neiman
September 6, 2014

Sacred music — music performed or composed for religious use or through religious influence — will be celebrated this week at the 3rd annual Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival. Part of Jerusalem’s Season of Culture, the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival is a 4-day musical event that describes itself as “spanning continents, definitions and faiths and… embrac[ing] all sacred traditions.”


Photograph by Zohar Ron

It’s also an opportunity to enjoy the crisp Jerusalem night, take part in local and global sacred musical traditions, learn about rare musical instruments, ancient crafts and traditional musical skills.


Photograph by Zohar Ron

Events range from participatory circle singing to performances by artists from Burkina-Faso, Jamaica, Morocco, Brazil and more. (The full program is available online).


Photograph by Hanan Bar Assouline

This year’s program will include collaborations between Israeli and foreign artists, open-air performances opposite the walls of the Old City and at houses of prayer. Along with the performances, the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival is offering visitors a rare opportunity to attend a series of master classes at the Jerusalem Music Center at Mishkenot Sha’ananim.


Photograph by Haim Yafim Barbalat

The Night Stroll is one of the festival’s flagship events – a all night celebration with over 20 different performances of musical and artistic genres. There will also be a series of “Testimony Encounters”, guided tours that trace the sacred sounds heard year-round in Jerusalem.


Photograph by Noam Chojnowski

The Festival organizers state, “We invite you to share brief moments of discovery and exaltation on a journey that begins in the ears and culminates in the heart. We ask you to join us as we attempt, if only for a few days, to break through Jerusalem’s physical barriers, the dark divisions in its heart.”


Photograph by Haim Yafim Barbalat

“This September, Jerusalem will issue a clear and pure call to the peoples of the world to come to our city and celebrate themselves. This September, Jerusalem will be filled with sounds and of unity and compassion. This September, the walls will turn into temples of song and listening. This September, join us on a musical journey that spans continents, definitions and faiths. Come to Jerusalem. Come in peace.”


Photograph by Noam Chojnowski

On a practical note, the organizers also recommend bringing warm clothes against the Jerusalem evening chill, comfortable clothes, hat and water for the day tours and — out of respect for the hosts — modest dress.

The 2014 Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival runs September 9-12, 2014, with the full schedule available on their website.

Photos from Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival 2013 courtesy of the Jerusalem Season of Culture.

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