ESPRIT ET LE CŒUR
(Al Ruh Wal Qalb)

Molka Mahdaoui
Tunisia 2003 | 52 Min. | BetaSP, OmfU
Q&A with: Molka Mahdaoui

Ahmed Jelman is the found­ing member of a pop­u­lar group that has attained cult status in Tunisia through the quick spread of their cas­settes and CDs. His voice, the catchy melodies and the rhythm of the songs are linked to a Sufi tra­di­tion wide­spread in Tunisia today. The tra­di­tion of ‘Hizb Ellatif´ accom­pa­nies all the impor­tant sta­tions of reli­gious life of many people in today´s Tunisia: birth, cir­cum­ci­sion, mar­riage, death. A divine bless­ing comes to all such occa­sions thanks to these songs.

The spir­i­tu­al dimen­sion of the music has some­thing rit­u­al­is­tic about it as well as being simple enter­tain­ment. The musi­cians create this con­nec­tion with­out becom­ing pro­fane: the music does not become pop music although it is pop­u­lar. The film pro­vides “mind and heart” with a common denom­i­na­tor.

It shows, almost inci­den­tal­ly, the con­nec­tion between day to day reli­gion and music forms that are both pop­u­lar and tra­di­tion­al.