Welcome to the 14th edition of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’s A Tapestry of Sacred Music—a festival where we bring together practitioners of different faith communities in a sharing of their cultural expressions. Taking place from 28 Apr – 1 May 2023, this is a one-of-a-kind event in the region and presents rare access to music that is often cloistered within places of worship. And yet, because these musical practices are inspired by the concept of a higher power and refined over generations of devotional practice, they are also some of humankind’s most intriguing and moving expressions.
The music is rooted in diverse beliefs, and continues to evolve under unique geographies, histories, and social constructs; all aiming to provide their perspective on a greater, ethereal truth. Likewise, the sounds differ in accordance with the needs of the believers; they may be ecstatic with joyful praise, or resolute and affirming, or heart-rendering in sorrow.
In spite of their different lineages, all sacred music addresses the same emotional states, uncertainties, hopes, and anxieties we all face in this earthly realm. And the fact that there can be emotional resonance with the music of another faith, is a reminder that we have more in common as people than that which divides us.
The programme line-up this year is a rich array of sounds, with artists that hail from temples, mosques, shrines, churches; the mausoleums of saints, rural villages, and sacred grounds in nature.
We hope you will come with open hearts and minds to explore the colourful traditions that reflect the diversity of human faith, and celebrate our common humanity.
Tan Xiang Hui
Producer, The Esplanade Co Ltd