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7th London Interfaith Music Festival

at the British Museum

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Faiths In Tune will be joining forces again with The British Museum for the 7th London Interfaith Music Festival.

The festival is part of a wider cooperation in the context of the British Museum's ongoing exhibition "Living With Gods", for which Faiths In Tune has been contributing several musical events.


On Sunday, 25 March 2018, the British Museum will become the host for the FAITHS IN TUNE - 7th London Interfaith Music Festival from 10 am to 5 pm. The festival will feature a diverse stage music and dance programme both in the BP Lecture Theatre and the famous Great Court, as well as an interfaith community fair where visitors can learn about and meet with various faith and cultural communities from all over London. The entrance to the festival is free (please support us with a donation).


See the full programme >>

The festival's main objective is the promotion of interfaith understanding, respect and dialogue by bringing people of all different (and no) faith backgrounds together through the universal language of music.


The British Museum is the UK's most visited attraction and a majority of the items on its display can be traced back to various religious backgrounds and sacred practices. The Interfaith Music Festival encourages visitors to look at the museum's exhibition not just in terms of cultural diversity and archaeology, but through the glasses of faith and interfaith traditions.


This will also be facilitated by the Museum's new exhibition "Living With Gods", taking place from November 2017 to April 2018, for which Faiths In Tune will provide a musical programme comprising of the London Interfaith Music Festival as well as two additional musical afternoons in December and February which will reflect on specific themes of the exhibition. >>> More information

Apply for a stall by 11 March to represent your community at the Festival
Programme London 2018



Stage programme

​The programme runs parallelly on two stages:

Great Court Stage

Ground floor, in the centre of the Great Court, in front of the rotunda, facing you as you enter the Museum.

Standing only, limited seats may be available to those with difficulties standing.

BP Lecture Theatre Stage

Lower ground floor, right underneath the Great Court, accesible via stairs or lifts from the Great Court.

Seating available, reservation via Eventbrite recommended.

Interfaith Fair

Meet London's faith communities and interfaith initiatives face to face!


Clore Centre East & West Foyers

Lower ground floor




“Tuffix – A Muslim girl in Germany” – comic art by German-Algerian artist Soufeina “Tuffix” Hamed


Clore Centre East & West Foyers

Lower ground floor

10:00 am

Festival Opening

with Anja Fahlenkamp (Faiths In Tune)

and Freddie Matthews (British Museum)

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      THE BEGINNINGS OF BELIEF - The Lion Man, Germany


10:05 am


At the origin of all religions is the question of where do we come from, what is the purpose of our life on earth and how was our world and universe created. And so the festival opens with interfaith music by the Sri Sathya Sai Centre of Central London, an interfaith movement following the teachings of Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba, in a performance that will invoke myths of creation and the cosmic energy of Shiva.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      COSMIC ENERGY - bronze Shiva Nataraja, India

10:15 am


Esra Akkaya

The element of light is essential to life and symbolises creation, life, hope and goodness in all religions, many of which even celebrate their own festivals of light. In Islam, God is also described as the light of the world. Traditional Sufi prayers performed by Esra Akkaya and the Sema dance of the whirling derwishes from Turkey will shed light in the darkness and brighten the day.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      LIGHT - Glass mosque lamp, Syria

10:30 am

Religious traditions of Polynesia

The power and energy of fire symbolises creation and change, purification and destruction. Fire is both an element of religious symbolism as well as one used in physical rituals. The London Hula Dancers showcase the beautiful dances and drumming rituals practiced in animist and polytheist faith traditions on the Pacific isles, including Hawai'i and Tahiti, starting with a dance devoted to the fire and volcano goddess Pele.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      FIRE - variety of objects related to the theme of fire

10:45 am


Waters are sacred to many religions, both as part of stories, like that of the great flood, and of rituals, like for instance christening or cleansing ceremonies. Numerous rivers, lakes, wells and even seas are also considered holy or sacred, like the Amazonas, Jordan and Osun rivers, lake Titicaca, the Zamzam well or of course the Ganges river in India, to which one of the dances in this Odissi performance will be devoted.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      WATER - Ganges story-telling painting, India


11:00 am


Religions stimulate people to perceive the world and its deeper realities by engaging all the senses. This also holds true for Judaism and its mystical branch of Hassidism, where prayer rituals engage sight, smell, taste, touch and of course hearing. Alex Jacobowitz is an exceptionally talented artist and street performer from the Hassidic depths of Brooklyn, drawing the audience into Jewish mysticism and music with the unexpected sound and vibrations of his marimba.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      SENSES - Shabbat and Havdalah sets, UK

11:15 am


Zen Buddhists from Japan meditate through Shakuhachi flute music to achieve transcendence. Justin Senryu Williams is a Shakuhachi master and will share pieces played with a variety of shakuhachi.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      SENSES - Silver censer, Ethiopia


11:30 am

Mevlevi Sufism

A core practice of Sufi prayer is the Sema ceremony where Sufi Dervishes whirl to become one with the divine and infinite. Female and male semazens of the Study Society will perform the famous Sema dance ritual accompanied by live music.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      PRAYER - Dervish's water chestnut prayer beads, Persia

11:40 am


Jewish prayers are spiritually led by a Rabbi and musically led by a Cantor or "Chazzan". The Abraham Geiger College in Berlin, Germany educates and trains rabbinical and cantorial students from all over the world. A group of alumni from the cantorial arts programme will share Jewish liturgy in Hebrew, Yiddish and Ladino.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      PRAYER - Jewish prayer cap (kippah), UK; phylactery (tefillin), Austria, Germany, UK

12:00 pm


Hindus worship their gods in shrines and temples. The largest Hindu temple in Europe is the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, a gorgeous temple that can be found in Neasden in Northern London. Children from the temple's Swaminarayan School will share traditional devotional songs, bhajans.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      WORSHIP - bronze home shrine stand, Bangladesh, with deity figures, India


12:15 pm

Gnosticism / Sufism

Ancient Persian prayers of the Gnostic and Sufi traditions are marked by the sound of synchronic drums and voices singing in unison. The Soveida Ensemble will share perform an ancient and long since forgotten form of Eastern music that has influenced the sounds of modern-day Persian Sufi music, playing on some of the oldest instruments created by man, including the Tanbour, Setar, Tar,   Daf, Tombak and Ney. This style of music is built upon specialised rhythms which are employed in the heart meditation technique.

12:30 pm


In the Alevi faith tradition of Anatolia, prayer consists of communal, musical recitals of poetry accompanied by the Saz.

12:45 pm


Buddhist meditation alternates between the sounds of silence, bells and mantras chanted in unison. The London Buddhist Singers of the London Buddhist Centre aim to develop Buddhist music with a Western voice, combining traditional Buddhist mantra chanting with pieces from the Western choral tradition and some newly composed music.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      SOUND - bronze bell, Tibet

1:00 pm


Communal song is central to many Christian prayer traditions and fosters a common identity. The London International Gospel Choir, led by Naveen Arles, is an energetic open community choir that unites young people from all different backgrounds to sing modern gospel and other music together.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      COMMUNAL SONG - church coat, Romania


1:15 pm


Langar community kitchens at Sikh temples, Gurdwara, serve free meals to all visitors without distinction. The Raj Academy teaches classical Sikh music in the UK and abroad.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      CHARITY - langar food sharing tray, India

1:30 pm


Faith often involves sacrifice, as believers give up being selfish and material things to prove commitment to a deity and community. Offering alms to mendicants and those in need (dāna) is central to Jain belief and the practics of the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur. Members of the Shrimad Rajchandra Mission Dharampur's London Centre will perform music and dances from the Jain faith background.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      SACRIFICE & CHARITY - kashkul alms shell, Iran

1:45 pm


The pilgrimage to Mecca, "hajj", is one of the five pillars of Islam and something that all Muslims are supposed to complete at least once during their lifetime. It was on his own hajj that this young Iraqi artist was inspired to combine his musical talent with his Muslim faith.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      PILGRIMAGE - hajj clothing, Saudi Arabia


2:00 pm


In Tibet, Buddhist holidays and festivals are plenty and are typically celebrated with joyful dances. "Khaita", meaning "harmony in space" in Tibetan, aims at harmonising body, energy and mind through singing and dancing. It is based on the songs of young contemporary Tibetan singers celebrating their profound culture and spiritual knowledge. Students of Dzogchen master Choegyal Namkhai Norbu sing and dance Khaita to cultivate relaxed presence in movement, harmony and joy, as well as to support Tibetan culture and knowledge. 

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      FESTIVALS - Buddhist New Year dance mask, Tibet

2:15 pm


The oecumenical Christian movement Taizé from France unites young Christians of all backgrounds at regular huge international gatherings as well as in local prayer groups in numerous countries to celebrate their commonalities across confessional boundaries.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      FESTIVALS - bronze processional crosses, Ethiopia

2:25 pm


Singing "kirtan" is a common faith practice within the Hindu religious tradition of Vaisnavism. Kirtan London, composed of members of the London Radha Krishna Temple (ISKCON), is best known for singing mantras such as the Maha Mantra (“Hare Krishna”) in joyful street processions.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      FESTIVALS - Proecssional chariot devoted to Vishnu, India


2:40 pm

Shintoism / Shinji Shumeikai

In all religious traditions, prayers, rituals and charms are supposed to bring luck, health and protection through all phases of life, from conception to death. In Japanese Shintoism, prayers to the ancestors and spirits, "kami", are propelled with the loud sound of Taiko drums, and good luck cards and amulets, "ofuda", can be obtained at Shinto shrines to bring protection e.g. for mother and child during pregnancy. The modern Japanese interfaith spiritual fellowship Shumei has developed the "Jyorei" practice to achieve spiritual healing. At this performance, members of Shumei will present a mix of opera, Taiko drumming and Shumei's "Amatsunorito" chant.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      HEALTH & PROTECTION - ofuda good luck cards, Japan

2:50 pm


The Buddhist Dharma wheel represents the circularity of life, from birth to death and rebirth, and the infinity of teaching and learning. The London Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple will share the music and meditation practices of Mahayana Buddhism from Taiwan and China.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      CYCLE OF LIFE - wheel of life thangka, Tibet

3:10 pm


Among the Yoruba people of West Africa, twins or "ibeji" are considered spiriutally protected signs of good fortune and wealth. Through the transatlantic slave trade, this and other beliefs and faith practices of the Yoruba were spread to Latin America and continue to be maintained by Afrodescendant communities in Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and other countries in the region. Ricardo Axé from Brazil will present the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé with traditional singing, drumming and dancing.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      CHILDHOOD - ibeji twin figure, Nigeria

3:15 pm


The aim of Buddhist practice is to escape the cycle of life, death and rebirth by attaining enlightenment and thus being liberated into nirvana. Buddha is said to have achieved nirvana in meditation, but not to have gon all the way so that he could remain on earth to help others. This moment of Buddha's "parinirvana" is a popular motive for sculptures and figures in South Eat Asian countries such as Myanmar. Burmese artist Htike Yadana will present a traditional Buddhist dance from Myanmar.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      DEATH & REBIRTH - gilded marble Buddha paranirvana figure, Myanmar

3:35 pm


All religions encompass practices and rituals for honouring and remembering the dead. Jewish history and practice are marked by the everlasting concurrency of and extreme contrast between death and life, remembrance and hope, grief and joy. Therefore, remembering the dead is as much part of Jewish practice as is celebrating life, the latter e.g. through dance. The Israeli Dance Institute will perform Jewish folk dances from Israel, showcasing the cultural diversity within Judaism as represented in the varying regional origins – such as Western European, Eastern European, Yemenite or Moroccan – of the different Jewish sub-communities and their respective dance traditions.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      REMEMBRANCE - Yahrzeit candle, UK

3:40 pm

Religious beliefs of Polynesia

Many religions know rituals that mark a young person's entering into adulthood; this of course also includes the religious traditions of the Pacific isles. More recently, the beautiful region of Polynesia has become better known thanks to a popular Disney movie that follows the journey of a young heroine that grows up to discover her own destiny, who goes by the name of Moana. "Moana" in the language of the Polynesian nations is the name of the vast and all providing Pacific Ocean, and this performance will tell the story of Tangaroa, the God of the moana.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      BECOMING AN ADULT - young man's hair bundle, Vanuatu

4:00 pm

Agnosticism / Atheism

An increasing percentage of the world population now considers itself atheist or agnostic and no longer self-identifies as adherent to any particular religion. However, unlike the term "non-believer" wrongly suggests, non-religious world views still do believe in something, albeit a secular set of values rather than religious or spiritual beings or deities. Moreover, non-religious belief-systems like Humanism and Communism have developed secular ceremonies, rituals and rites of passage to mark and celebrate important pesonal and social occasions, and to foster social cohesion and shared identities beyond religion. Calista Kazuko comes from a mixed American, Japanese, Romanian, Russian and Scottish background and was raised in a family that didn't follow any particular one religion but practiced Buddhist, Christian and Jewish beliefs. She advocates for an inclusive upbringing open to various beliefs that encourages children to find their own worldview.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      RITES OF PASSAGE - painting of secular Soviet rites of passage by Vladimir Muratov, Russia (former Soviet Union)


4:10 pm

One Love

Antarma brings hearts together with his heart opening songs on guitar, Indian mantras and meditation, ecstatic Afro-Brazilian djembe rhythms, soul, reggae and hip hop in his programme "Meditation Celebration Antarma Live!". Inspired and influenced by various faith traditions, including Sanatana Dharma/Hinduism, Afro-Brazilian, Amazonian Shamanic, Sufi and Rastafari traditions, Antarma promotes togetherness, respect, solidarity and One Love between all human beings.

>> Living with the gods podcast:

      PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE: coexistence of faiths in India

4:25 pm


"The Way" is an interfaith piece by composer and SOAS music graduate Damilola Eniola a.k.a. Gugak Sounds that creatively brings together and explores the spiritual and musical connections between Korean Shamanism on the one hand and Western Catholic Christianity on the other.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      SACRED PLACES & SPACES: Model of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Palestine; Shamanic objects from Siberia, Scandinavia and Japan

4:35 pm


The Mixed Up Chorus is out to change the world – one song at a time. The choir's members believe that if we sing next to each other, we'll live well next to each other. The choir brings people from different backgrounds, faiths and cultures together through music. It began life as part of the arts and culture programme at 3FF, a charity committed to building positive relationships between people of different faiths and beliefs. In July 2017 the current choir community became independent from 3FF and is now a project of Together Productions. The choir led by Musical Director Jeremy Haneman and Creative Producer Holly Jones is non-auditioned and intercultural, uniting audiences and members through a love of music, a global repertoire, regular performances and exciting collaborations with other artists.

>> Living with gods exhibition:

      COEXISTENCE & HOPE: Lampedusa cross, Italy

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