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Songs of the Syrians

“With his brow furrowed in concentration, Abu Abdullah rhythmically strums his oud, exploring the core of a melancholic melody. Mohamad Isa Almaziodi’s robust and melismatic voice soars above, full of emotional ornamentation – sighing and repeating, rising and falling – until he runs out of breath and the phrase is forced to finish. In his song, Mohamad is singing about how strange life is, how harsh the nights are: ‘Oh this life is so strange… our home became very far. Very far.’ But before he can finish, he is overcome by homesickness and with his head in his hands, he cries. He is crying for his beloved country and for the father he left behind.

syria refugees

A still from the music video filmed in Darasakran refugee camp, Erbil, Iraq

  Abu and Mohamad are residents of Zaatari, a refugee camp located just a few kilometres east of Mafraq, Jordan, near the Syrian border. Originally established as a temporary settlement in July 2012 for Syrians fleeing the civil war, Zaatari is now home to an estimated 79,000 refugees and stretches over five square kilometres.” Read more on the Songlines website.

Meanwhile this video of a Canadian children’s choir preparing to welcome Syrian refugees with a song the might recognise, went viral in support of refugee aid worldwide, as did the HAPPY video made at the Syrian refugee camp in Erbil Iraq, below. In Canada a music programme for the welcoming of refugees included the children’s choir below, seen rehearsing Tala’ al-Badru Alayna, which was sung by Prophet Muhammad’s companions to welcome him as he sought refuge in Medina. If you would like to donate to the refugee camp projects please do so here.