Friday, April 04, 2008

The Problem-Solving Nuts

Tonight's little bit of culture for me is a special concert by Panjir, a group of musicians who play traditional Central Asian Islamic folk music - with just a few infusions of more modern European influences (the group was formed by a pal of mine, British guitarist David Mitchell; but most of the other members are Uyghurs, a Muslim people from Xinjiang in the far west of China).

It's a bigger concert than usual, a bigger line-up than usual (and when they draft in additional Uyghur musicians, the set usually takes on a more traditional character [which I like] rather than spiralling off into the free jazz improvisation that David tends to favour [which I also like, but not quite as much]) to mark Nowruz - an ancient Zoroastrian holiday still celebrated as the Persian New Year, which begins on the vernal equinox and goes on for a fortnight. So, this concert is rather at the tail-end of it, but, what the hey, better late than never. There should be a good turnout from the city's Muslim communities tonight (the boys played a similar show for the Eid al-Adha festival back in December, and it was packed).

Anyway, I learn from the Wikipedia article on Nowruz that for Persians the 'spring-cleaning' holiday, Chahārshanbe Sūrī, just before it is perhaps an even bigger deal. I have learned that amongst the unique traditions associated with this holiday (which occurs on the day before the last Wednesday of the 'old year' - which this year, I suppose, must have been March 18th) is the serving of a special dish called Ajīl-e Moshkel-Goshā - which apparently translates as........ The Problem-Solving Nuts.

Ha! I love that! I couldn't help thinking that that sounds like a good description of my friends and me when we fall to discussing the world's ills over many beers.

It also sounds as though it could conceivably be a band name..... which is an apt reminder to anyone who happens to be reading this on Friday evening (my time, here in Beijing) that you have just a few hours left to post an entry for 'March' in the ongoing Possible Band Names competition over on The Barstool. Last-minute entries?? Oh, the drama!

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