A 2009 Nautilus Gold Award Winner, Pure Water is Coleman Barks’ inspired live performance of the poetry of Jellaludin Rumi (1207-1273) - with Sufi stories and jokes, accompanied with music by Bach, O’Carolan, Friesen and others.
The performance captured in this recording recalls the essence of the communal celebrations of poetry, stories, jokes, prayer, and music in which Rumi’s work was first uttered, but presents it in a distinctive contemporary setting. Coleman’s words combine with the cello of Grammy Award-winner Eugene Friesen, carrying the language directly into the heart of the listener with a diverse menu of world folk melodies, Bach, and improvisation.
As Rumi wrote: "What is the soul? Consciousness. The more awareness, the deeper the soul, and when such essence overflows, you feel a sacredness around. It’s so simple to tell one who puts on a robe and pretends to be a dervish from the real thing. We know the taste of pure water...."
Would you listen to Pure Water again? Why?
Yes. It was wonderful listening to it the first time. But, I really love it as background when I’m doing boring tasks that require some level of concentration such that I can’t listen to a narrative. Since I’ve heard this recording before, if a miss a few lines, it’s no big deal. Instead, it just helps me hear the following lines in a new fresh way. But, having this as a background adds a touch of beauty to my everyday actions. It helps me see the poetry in my day.
What did you like best about this story?
On the second hearing, I really appreciated the cello much more. First time through, I was trying to follow the words. Sometimes, now, I like to listen to it just for the cello. It really is the perfect marriage. The cello perfectly deepens the emotion of the words, sometimes almost to tears.
Which character – as performed by Coleman Barks and Eugene Friesen (cello) – was your favorite?
Barks’s Southern delivery really fits the soulfulness of the poetry quite well. I have to say, I don’t love hearing Barks’s own poetry that much. I mostly just want to hear Rumi. But, it did help me realize that when we are reading the poetry of Rumi, we are actually hearing the poetry of Barks. I suppose he must feel he does not gets much credit as a poet. I previously thought Barks was some sort of Persian scholar. Now I realize he is actually, primarily, a poet.
Any additional comments?
A lovely work that gets better wirh repetition
I love this book and the interpretation of the great poems captures the essence of the human soul and mind
Would you consider the audio edition of Pure Water to be better than the print version?
Not really, as the readings of poems felt less a focal than the story telling and music
Has Pure Water turned you off from other books in this genre?
No, but this was a hybrid of other things, poetry just one aspect.
Any additional comments?
I'd listen to this again, but I was really seeking a Rumi poetry primer and this was more performance piece with a musical theme
If you are seeking Rumi, go elsewhere. This is a personal, musical, poetry session of mixed sources which include Rumi. I do not recommend.
Wonderful concert-like performance. Exceeded my expectations. Pure Water combines the ancient poetry of a great seer with modern sensibility. Barks is a master of this performance form.
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