Musicians and fans pay tribute to DJ Avicii

Fans of Swedish DJ, remixer, record producer and singer Tim Bergling, better known by his stage name “Avicii” gather in his memory at Sergels torg in central Stockholm, Sweden, on April 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 21 April 2018
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Musicians and fans pay tribute to DJ Avicii

  • The DJ, whose real name was Tim Bergling, was found dead Friday in Muscat, Oman.
  • He had been holidaying in Oman with friends.

Stockholm: Thousands of fans gathered in Stockholm Saturday to remember Swedish star Avicii, one of the world’s most successful DJs who has died aged 28.
The DJ, whose real name was Tim Bergling, was found dead Friday in Muscat, the capital of the Gulf sultanate Oman, where he had been on holiday with friends.
A police source in Oman said the death was not considered to be suspicious, adding that the circumstances would remain confidential at the request of the family.
On Saturday afternoon, several thousand people gathered to remember the DJ at Sergels Torg plaza in Stockholm, where the crowd danced to his hit songs.
“He was a modern Mozart,” said 61-year-old language teacher Chris Koskela. “One of the greatest artists that Sweden has ever known.”
Fellow DJ Sebastian Ingrosso, who organized the event with Swedish House Mafia, tweeted: “We were just kids with dreams, Tim inspired us all and millions more.”
On Friday night nightclubs across the capital held a minute’s silence and his name was projected on the Ericsson Globe arena, where in 2014 Avicii played three sell-out gigs.
Tributes poured in from the musical world, as well as from Swedish royalty.
Madonna, who worked with Avicii on her last album, posted a picture of herself in the DJ booth with him and wrote: “So Tragic. Goodbye Dear Sweet Tim. Gone Too Soon.”
DJ David Guetta, who collaborated with Avicii on “Sunshine,” wrote: “We lost a friend with such a beautiful heart and the world lost an incredibly talented musician
In 2015, Avicii DJ-ed at the wedding reception of Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip and his bride Sofia. In a statement they said: “We had the honor to have known him and admired him both as an artist and the beautiful person that he was.”
Avicii was among the first DJs to break through into the mainstream as electronic dance music grew over the past decade from nightclubs to Top 40 radio.
His biggest hits included “Wake Me Up,” which went to number one across Europe in 2013 and featured the soul singer Aloe Blacc.
But he had made no secret of his health problems, including pancreatitis, triggered in part by excessive drinking linked to his party lifestyle.
In 2016, Avicii stunned fans by announcing his retirement when he was just 26, saying that he wanted to leave the high-flying electronic music lifestyle.
Avicii — who for years was one of the world’s most lucrative electronic musicians — in 2016 made number 12 on the list of top-paid DJs of Forbes magazine, which said he earned $14.5 million in the previous year.


Rare silk Qur’an helps preserve Afghanistan’s cultural heritage

Updated 24 May 2018
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Rare silk Qur’an helps preserve Afghanistan’s cultural heritage

  • Each of the Islamic holy book’s 610 pages was produced by hand in a painstaking process that took a team of 38 calligraphers and artists specializing in miniatures nearly two years to finish
  • Turquoise Mountain began work in 2006 in Kabul with the aim of preserving ancient Afghan craftsmanship, including ceramics, carpentry and calligraphy

KABUL: One of the only Qur’ans ever made from silk fabric has been completed in Afghanistan — a feat its creators hope will help preserve the country’s centuries-old tradition of calligraphy.
Each of the Islamic holy book’s 610 pages was produced by hand in a painstaking process that took a team of 38 calligraphers and artists specializing in miniatures nearly two years to finish.
Bound in goat leather and weighing 8.6 kilograms, the Qur’an was produced by Afghan artisans, many of them trained at British foundation Turquoise Mountain in Kabul.
“Our intention was to ensure that calligraphy does not die out in this country — writing is part of our culture,” Khwaja Qamaruddin Chishti, a 66-year-old master calligrapher, said in a cramped office inside Turquoise Mountain’s labyrinthine mud-brick and wood-paneled complex.
With the Qur’an considered a sacred text, calligraphy is highly venerated in Islam and Islamic art.
“When it comes to art we cannot put a price on it. God has entrusted us with this work (the Qur’an) ... and this means more to us than the financial aspect,” Chishti continued.
Using a bamboo or reed ink pen, Chishti and his fellow calligraphers spent up to two days carefully copying Qur’anic verses onto a single page — sometimes longer if they made a mistake and had to start again.
They used the Naskh script, a calligraphic style developed in early Islam to replace Kufic because it was easier to read and write.
The decoration around the script, known as illumination, was more time-consuming, each page taking more than a week to complete.
A team of artists used paint made from natural materials, including ground lapis, gold and bronze, to recreate the delicate patterns popular during the Timurid dynasty in the 15th and 16th centuries in the western city of Herat.
“All the colors we have used are from nature,” Mohammad Tamim Sahibzada, a master miniature artist who was responsible for creating the vibrant colors used in the Qur’an, said.
Sahibzada said working on silk fabric for the first time was challenging. The locally sourced material — all 305 meters (1,000 feet) of it — was treated in a solution made from the dried seeds of ispaghula, or psyllium, to stop the ink from spreading.
Turquoise Mountain began work in 2006 in Kabul with the aim of preserving ancient Afghan craftsmanship, including ceramics, carpentry and calligraphy.
It hopes the silk Qur’an will generate demand for more handmade Islamic religious texts that could create employment for its artisans and help finance the institute.
“We will show it to other Islamic countries to see if it is possible to create job opportunities for graduates to work on another Qur’an,” said Abdul Waheed Khalili, the organization’s Afghan director.
For now, it will be kept in a specially made hand-carved walnut wooden box to protect its delicate pages from the elements at Turquoise Mountain’s offices, which are in the restored Murad Khani, a historic commercial and residential area in Kabul’s oldest district.
There Turquoise Mountain has trained thousands of artisans with the support of Britain’s Prince Charles, the British Council, and USAID.
“The copying of the Qur’an onto silk is very rare,” country director Nathan Stroupe said.
He said the project has been “an amazing way to train our students at an incredibly high level in a very traditional type of work.”
“If a book collector in London... was interested in it, we would be thinking in the $100,000 to $200,000 (price) range,” he added.