Ignacio Béjar had always been fascinated by music but it wasn’t until he came across the Turkish ney, that he began to see music as a tool towards spiritual fulfilment and as a powerful catalyst of societal change. The ney, sometimes referred to as a ‘sufi flute’, came into his hands when, almost twenty years ago, a Moroccan neighbour visited his tea shop in the historic centre of Málaga.
The sight of Ignacio playing the transverse flute prompted the generous man to give him a unique present: the ney, which, to Ignacio’s surprise, remained completely silent, despite his efforts at eliciting sound by blowing with all his might into what was essentially an empty tube. After a relentless two-week battle, Ignacio gave up and packed the ney away.
Ignacio had many other instruments to keep him busy at the time; the idea of creating ‘musical landscapes’ through a myriad of instruments (including the transverse flute, oud, piano, Turkish clarinet and saxophone) had always appealed to this soulful thinker. Seven years after receiving the mysterious gift, a friend recommended a best-selling book: The Mozart Effect, which revealed how the healing power of music is used in many areas of the world. Page 146 of that book spoke of a doctor in clinical Psychology in the Middle East called Oruç, who utilised ancient musical traditions to heal patients in hospitals – his teachings had influenced scientists and artists in Germany, Austria and Turkey. A few days later, on the evening of San Juan, when Spaniards hold lively moragas (bonfire get-togethers) and cleanse their spirits in the warm waters of the sea, a woman from the North of Spain presented herself to Ignacio while he was playing on the beach. She spoke of a master who used Middle Eastern musical traditions to heal. She said the man would soon be visiting her home to give a workshop – his name? Oruç, the same man Ignacio had just read about. Without hesitating, Ignacio accepted the woman’s invitation to meet the master.
Before this fortuitous meeting and the day after, dreaming that he played the ney skilfully, Ignacio discovered something magical: his ney, which he had cleared of cobwebs to bring along on his journey, began to produce sound. “Unlike most instruments, the ney works at a spiritual level. At first site, this instrument is just an empty vessel, a channel, but it is also a symbol of the perfect human being. If we are tuned in to our spiritual side, we are empty, and can function as a bridge between heaven and earth.”
Ignacio’s first meeting with Dr. Oruç was all he had expected; the musicians ‘free-jammed’ with each other, creating surprisingly beautiful melodies that led to a special friendship. Oruç became Ignacio’s master in the ney, Turkish music, and the basics of Oriental Music therapy and Sufism, eventually inviting Ignacio to take part in festivals across Turkey, and in several whirling dervishes ceremonies.
Ignacio holds music therapy events along the Coast, as well as throughout Spain and in London and Germany. Music therapy is, in essence, “acupuncture through sound”, but its effects can go far deeper. He says that the reaction of those attending is quite remarkable: “Many people become very emotional after music therapy; they say they feel energised. Some people have even told me that their first experience in music therapy has marked a turning point in their lives.”
Ignacio also holds several concerts at important festivals and monuments all over the world, sometimes performing solo and others with different world music groups. He has additionally organised a series of world music festivals. “Commercial music has a resonance and frequencies that stimulates the left side of the brain, which is normally dominant in modern day society and makes people more materialistic and competitive” says Ignacio, elaborating, “Music therapy stimulates the right brain. It makes us more creative and gives us a wider perspective of the world.”
Ignacio is available for music therapy sessions, workshops and concerts. For further information, click onto his website and check out his events section to enjoy his music live. His CD, Hacia La Luz / Towards the Light, pays homage to the power of music to reach the eternal within our own soul.
Ignacio Béjar will be performing alongside Dharambir Singh and Upneet Singh at the Ilahi Nadda concert at Finca Palo Verde on April 20 at 5pm. He will be presenting his latest CD, Hacia La Luz, at a concert on April 25 at 9:30pm at Finca Palo Verde in Alhaurín de la Torre. www.fincapaloverde.com
On Saturday, April 26, he will be holding a harmonisation workshop through voice and vibration at the Clínica Buchinger at 7:30pm.
Words Marisa Cutillas – Photography © www.photographermarbella.com