Illuminating Rumi

Singer, composer and teacher Anna Beaumont is always breaking new ground. You may have heard her sing jazz - she appeared at the 2007 Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival and at other concerts on the Coast. She has facilitated several vocal workshops in which she encourages participants to reach within and express themselves in song.

But, some two years ago, when a friend gave Beaumont a book based on the work of a 13th century Sufi poet, the mystical love poetry and wisdom of Rumi spoke to her in a new, resonant way.

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"These poems made themselves into songs," she said. "I would look at a poem and the text would arrange around me - the melodies appearing quickly."

At first she kept her new direction a secret, but she now offers it joyously. Last year she was the featured performer at the World Kindness concert in Vancouver singing at an opening gala for Deepak Chopra. Numerous appearances with her new music followed, often organized through United or Unity churches in western Canada.

Her concert, Illumin-ating Rumi and Hafiz, comes to the Heritage Playhouse in Gibsons on Thursday, July 29, featuring the poetry of both these Sufi poets. The ancient poetry, when adapted to music, offers a spiritual, uplifting quality not unlike gospel music. They were inspirational messages of their day, and they are current now. Audience of many different faiths could enjoy them equally.

"They're simple messages, that's what I love about them," Beaumont said. "'Keep walking though; there's no place to get to ' runs one of the lyrics. It will be an evening of beauty and mystery."

Beaumont will be bringing an accomplished Edmonton cellist, Martin Kloppers, who plays an electric cello that he spent seven years building. The wooden cello is shaped into a torso of the female figure. He calls it the "cellotaur" and it adds a haunting quality to the music.

Paul Steenhuis performs on guitar in the second half for a few jazz pieces as Beaumont steps back into that other world of music. Shawn Soucy is on percussion and Beaumont's father, Gibsons' resident Tony Beaumont, will also sing, both with his daughter and on his own.

Tickets are $20 in advance at WindSong Gallery, Shanti's Gifts, Gaia's Fair Trade and Hallmark Cards or $25 at the door. Doors open at 7, concert is at 7:30 p.m. See for more about the music.

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