This limited print edition helps you master the qasidas and elevate your choral singing. It is comprehensive, functional, durable and pleasing to the soul.
With more than 200 qasidas, Songs of Presence has almost every qasida you can expect to be sung in a Sufi gathering, especially those of the Shadhili Order. This includes Inna Fi al-Janna, Ayyuha al-Ashiq, Bushra Lana, Da'uni Unaji, Qad Kafani 'Ilm Rabbi, Ya Imam al-Rusl, Ishrab Sharab Ahl al-Safa and Da' Turq al-Ghayy.
It even contains Qasidat al-Burda, al-Muhammadiyya and Tala'a al-Badru 'Alayna.
I use Songs of Presence because it saves me the effort of constantly going back to different qasida books. It has all the most important qasaid that are sung in gatherings, mawlids and the hadra in a single book.
Easy to read from
Every Arabic letter has been fully vowelled following the Mughal Koran system. This system was designed by great scholars to make the correct pronunciation of every letter easy on non-Arabs.
Thus Songs of Presence is as easy to read from for non-native Arabic speakers as it is for Arabs.
Since the text in Songs of Presence is very clear, it’s helped me improve my Arabic reading skills. It’s a very beautiful book. Although the Lisan Tongue is unusual, I’ve found it to be useful.
Keep in sync
Songs of Presence was specifically designed to facilitate choral singing. Repeated choruses are underlined, repeated phrases are gold-coloured and repeated verses are indicated in the margins.
This lets you stay focused on the words without anxiously wondering if you'll be repeating something or awkwardly singing on whilst everyone else is repeating.
Although I bought Songs of Presence to stay in sync with everyone else, I began to love it once I actually started using it. Just holding this beautifully produced book and carefully leafing through its priceless pages still gives me an awesome feeling that sends a tingle down my spine.
In Songs of Presence, qasidas are grouped up by maqam and ordered by letter. This helps you transition between qasidas smoothly without any frantic page-flipping.
The running headers even indicate which qasida is coming up. And if you're singing a pre-agreed medley, you can pre-mark 3 additional qasidas using the two book markers and flap.
I really like the layout and ordering of Songs of Presence. It’s so easy to find the qasida I'm looking for and the qasidas are ordered in the way that you'd typically sing them, so you don’t need to backtrack.
Match qasidas by tune
In Songs of Presence, the poetic metre (bahr) of each poem is specified in the margin of the Arabic text. Using this, you can sing many qasidas using common tunes.
So if you know the tune for one qasida, you can use that tune to sing all of the other qasidas which share the same poetic metre, even if those qasidas are new to you.
The truth is that I'm very new to the world of qasa'id and there is so much for me to discover. I've found that knowing the bahrs of the qasidas means that my family and I can experiment singing qasidas that are new to us, even if we don't know the exact tune they're supposed to be sung to.
Pleasing to the soul
The pages are proportioned harmoniously and enjoy gilded edges. The cover is embossed and foil-stamped with design from the Abul Hasan Al-Shadhili Zawiya in Amman. Art and calligraphy adorns it, with contributions from Besim Bruncaj, Ibrahim Batchelder, Mukhtar Sanders, Alparslan Babaoglu and Mothana al-Obaydi.
An extra limited edition also enjoys a full-leather hand-bound cover with a special suede case.
The design is so beautiful and elegant that every time I see it I want to open it and start singing.
Built to Last
Made from recycled leather, the cover produces the strength and flexibility needed to protect the book and won't bubble like soft-covers do. Meanwhile, the single mikleb (flap) gives further protection whilst bringing in a touch from the manuscript tradition.
And with dense pages, Songs of Presence is rugged and pliable, not fearing constant use or being stuffed into a bag.
Songs of Presence is a work that took years to complete, lots of dedication, lots of effort, lots of sweat and lots of love. Many thanks to the people involve in producing this work. My hope is that everybody has the book in their home.
In recognition of its exquisite design, the 2015 British Book Design and Production Awards shortlisted this edition in the Limited Edition and Fine Binding category.
It is comprehensive, accurate, functional and a pleasure to use. It is a treasure for any lover of qasidas, especially non-Arab speakers. And, as no further printings of the book will be released with the design treatment described, we recommend you to purchase your copies whilst you still can.
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