Rumi Concert in New Mexico

written by Christiane von Linz

The Rumi Concert


Instrumentalist/vocalist Jai Uttal opened the concert with a mystical tune, chanting Indian lyrics to the humming drone of the harmonium. Throughout the evening, Jai also played guitar and banjo on several songs, enhancing the night’s multi-cultural flavor, blending Eastern and Western musical traditions. An outstanding musician, he showed great command of his distinct vocals.

Zuleikha, the storyteller dancer, was truly magical. Her graceful movements, her jingling ankles, and sparkling pink, midnight blue, and white costumes lit up the stage, filling our hearts with the essence of every one of Rumi’s poems that Coleman Barks so beautifully recited. Her storytelling through dance and hypnotic voice left the audience spell bound.

Glen Velez, a master of world percussion drums enthralled the audience with his skilled fingers dancing and flying across his instruments, drumming out songs of love with a yearning I have never heard before.

Coleman Barks, the poet & Rumi translator, commanded the stage with his philosophical and mystical aura, filling the air with Rumi’s timeless poetry while soothing tunes carried us into a magical place far beyond space and time.

Each of the performers was exceptional, their music, poetry, and dance twining like lovers in a dream; seamless and beautiful.


“Let the beauty we love be what we do.” This Rumi thought encapsulated the concert. And as the program said, it was indeed a feast of poetry, humor, music, dance & story.