Virtually Islamic Blog

Gary R. Bunt

Omar Ibn Said & Rhiannon Giddens

Library of Congress, The Omar Ibn Said Collection

"The Omar Ibn Said Collection consists of 42 digitized documents in both English and Arabic, including an 1831 manuscript in Arabic on "The Life of Omar Ibn Said," a West African slave in America, which is the centerpiece of this unique collection of texts. Some of the manuscripts in this collection include texts in Arabic by another West African slave in Panama, and others from individuals located in West Africa." Also see Nonesuch, Rhiannon Giddens to Premiere New Opera at Spoleto Festival in 2020 "To create the opera's libretto, Giddens has carried out extensive research and studied with numerous religious leaders and scholars, including Ayla Amon of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The opera will explore the themes of religion, spirituality, and redemption, following Ibn Said's experience as an enslaved Muslim in a foreign and often horrific environment."
I learnt about this from @MOJOmagazine's interview with Rhiannon Giddens. Giddens also has an excellent new album out, which combines Arabic themes, folk and numerous other musical influences. Here's an extract:

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