Words of Praise: the Qasida with Dr. Michael Sells with Amir ElSaffar and Safaafir
The qasida is a long rhymed ode common to Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Urdu literature. It originated among Arab Bedouins as an oral poem in praise of the tribe or denigrating its enemies.
Michael Sells’ insightful talk reveals the remarkable richness of language and range of emotions evoked by Arabic Golden Age poets Imru al-Qays and al-Mutanabbi. Dr. Sells describes how the form continues to be used today in contexts as varied as televised political commentaries and village weddings. This lecture is followed by an Iraqi maqam performance by Amir El-Saffar and his ensemble Safaafir, who draw on forms like the qasid from the Arabic Golden Age.