Cultures We Could Have; Part 1.

The Clash of Civilizations and Sufi Choir

Hippies + Free Jazz + Psychedelia + Youth Choir + Islam


Generated around 1969 by Bay Area Sufi Mystic “Sufi Sam” Lewis, the Sufi Choir’s album attest to an odd yet strangely comfortable mixing of cultures that should be instructive for these bellicose East meets West days. For culture warriors this charming bit of esoterica might appear as a huh?

The back side of this, their 1973 album gives shout outs to:

Northern California Youth Choir, Ether, saints, prophets, Archie Shepp, Aretha Franklin, Carl Shapiro, Asasvati, Lao-Tsu, Children, angels, jinns, Hu, ancients, Sarmad, Dylan Thomas, flowers, Hassan, Hasrat Khaja, Zoroaster, form, Pythagoras, Paul, Air, Marin, Fire, void, Vocha, La Monte Young, Parents, Otis Redding, Joan Baez, Lester Young, Mozart, The Rishis, Roshi, Rabbi Lama, Mansur, Ravi Shankar, Earth, Bob Dylan, Mount Tamalpais, Sakir Hussain, ALLAH, The Golden Gate, Yeats, Rumi, The Holy Spirit, Ali Akbar Khan, Baba Ram Dass, Miles Davis, Pete Seger, The Three Kings, The Incredible String Band, Ajari, Rocky Mountains, The Arizona Desert, The Grateful Dead, Ruth St. Denis, Moses, Orpheus, All those Known or Unknown, Cecil Taylor, Bilie Holiday ….

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About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2022: I publish a weeklyish email newsletter called LANDLINE = https://jaybabcock.substack.com Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca., where I practiced with Buddhist teacher Ruth Denison and was involved in various pro-ecology and social justice activist activities.