Sarband combines an adventurous but true
17th-century story from Iceland and the Ottoman Empire
with classical Ottoman and traditional Scandinavian music, accompanied by projections of text and images.
Guðríður Símonardóttir (1598 –1682) was one
of 242 Icelanders, who were abducted from the
Westman Islands in 1627 by Barbary corsairs in
Ottoman service. In Icelandic folk tradition,
Guðríður became known as «Tyrkja-Gudda»
She was the wife of a fisherman, and a mother. After her abduction she was sold into an Algerian seraglio,
where she remained
for ten years, until she could be ransomed together with a few others at the instigation of King Christian IV. of Denmark.
As a group, they were sent to Denmark to be 're-Christianized'.
Their teacher was Hallgrímur Pétursson, then a student of divinity,
but later to become famous for his Passion Psalms, the most popular book of Icelandic literature. The former slave and the young
theologian fell in love. After Guðríður had become pregnant they married and moved to Iceland.
This adventurous and conflict-laden biography is still significant today,
as it contains current interfaith, cultural and political
conflict. Sarband tells this story with music from the 17th century, historical narratives and illustrations. But none of these
elements can be linked to one place only: Not even the Turkish music in the program was composed by a native Turk. Alî Ufkî,
the most famous Ottoman musician and composer of the 17th century, once was the young Pole Wojciech Bobowski, enslaved
during the Turkish Wars and sold to the Ottoman Sultan's court, where he rose to the position of a court musician and
dragoman of two Sultans.
«With instruments such as Gothic harp, cow horn, hand drum, the wind instrument Ney,
the violin-like Kemenge
and the Asian zither Kanun the artists created a unique atmosphere, in which not only the diverse musical cultures
intertwined harmoniously, but, in the general context of the suspense-packed framework plot,
a bridge of reconciliation was built.« Wolfram Graf, Nordbayerischer Kurier, 25.08.2011