Rarely do we attend a spiritual performance that leaves the audience with an overwhelming sense of national pride as seen in Intisar Abdel Fattah’s Peace Message. Performed regularly at the Ghouri Complex in Islamic Cairo, the show leaves you in a state of trance with its perfect fusion of Egyptian patriotism and religious recitation.

Peace Message is an ensemble of four troupes; Samaa, a Sufi recitation group, a Coptic hymnal choir, an Indonesian recitation group as well as an a-cappella church choir. Using only kanoun, daf and drums, the simplicity of the underlying music allows the singers’ smooth voices to echo through the small dome, sending messages of unity beyond religious and racial difference into the audience’s soul.

The songs performed by Peace Message have a strong emphasis on God and his praise. Having the crowd seated no more than a metre away from the performers, who are settled a step lower than the first row, ensures that a connection between audience and performer is maintained. Also adding to the intimacy of the performance is the presence of the conductor amidst the audience.

As the show proceeds, the troupes’ harmonious melody takes the crowd through escalating levels of divine spiritual experience. The fusion of the various styles of religious recitation and hymns leaves listeners swaying subconsciously to the rhythm.

This is by no means an opera-type performance– it’s all about breaking down differential boundaries, which is also evident in the reference to humanity as opposed to religion or gender. Adding to the uniqueness of the performance is the crowd, which includes a diverse mix of ages, ethnicities and religious backgrounds. There seem to be a few frequent visitors who know the performers personally.

Near the end of the show, the group sings national songs and members of the audience are encouraged to sing along. This lends a sense of unity to spectators, who are left with a feeling community with their neighbours regardless of class, gender, religious affiliation or sexual orientation, which is arguably the main aim of the performance.

Peace Message is essentially a representation of a utopian Egypt in many ways, sending the message that humanity surpasses all differences. The show is performed every second and last Sunday of the month at the Ghouri Complex. Entry to the performance is free and the venue functions on a first-come-first-served basis.