"Noor Inayat Khan, Sufi Princess, daughter of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Children's Book Author, Musician, Allied Spy, died in Dachau September 13th, 1944, 29 years old. The more I learned about her, the more I read her father's words, the more fascinated I became. The music recorded on this CD is an expression of that.
Discovering the life – and death - of Noor Inayat Khan, especially in the context of her father’s writing and work (Sufi musician, writer, philosopher Hazrat Inayat Khan) was something of a call to action. Here was a woman in possession of ‘spiritual’ content or inner reality, who had grown up in a tradition of beautiful words and music, who voluntarily thrust herself into the middle of Europe’s coarsest mayhem of the 20th Century. Did she know what she was in for? Probably not, yet she knew she was in for ‘something’ and that ‘something’ was accepted as ‘destiny’ (as opposed to ‘fate’) that had to be lived, indeed endured, or she would have failed her inner injunction. I realised that no one had as yet addressed her inner story, and the questions it raised. For example, was this sense of ‘inner destiny’ real, or was she a headstrong girl out to prove herself in some way? Maybe a bit of both, that’s often how it is, right? How was it for her when held in solitary by the Gestapo, meaning, did she waver? Externally she didn’t, she died without her captors even knowing her true name, but even Jesus cried out on the cross. Did her father’s words, and the inner work she had done truly sustain her? Even more esoterically, in the sense of Islam, if she was truly surrendered to what was being asked of her, if this was her contribution, her ‘work’ as it were, to be held this way, to die in Dachau, what was that for? What did she gain, what did her family gain, what did the world gain, what did humanity gain?
So there I was with all this emotional response, and awareness that these questions weren’t really addressed by her biographer, or the websites that talked about her, including, understandably, the family’s (active Sufis all). What does a composer/poet/musician do with this response — he puts it into sound and lyrics. The initial piece ‘Noor’, now the core of the CD, wasn’t enough, and I worked on, and as I did so—and this is presumptuous—I felt that I was doing some serious inner work – for myself (obviously), but I also felt this connection to her family. At a certain moment I contacted them, and asked for permission to use her photo in the sleeve art, which was granted (by Hidayat, her younger brother), and this I took as at least tacit approval of what I was doing. The channel grew, and through it came a lot of music, although ‘channel’ implies a kind of ease of creation that wasn’t strictly the case; at times it was more like deep mining, hewing of sound into recognisable form. And once it was done, I was suddenly void of content, as if the force I’d been given to do the work, a kind of baraka if you like, was taken from me. I was listless; rudderless for a month at least, once recording was completed"
This CD contains 7 tracks (over 50 minutes) of original music, and includes an 8 page booklet containing song lyrics, notes and background information, with graphic design and photography by Rob Dodson.