Damon Albarn onstage at The Roundhouse London, 2010, with members of The Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music © Mark Allan
Two new talks that were part of the Africa Express events are now available to watch on the 14-18 NOW website.
A Remarkable Journey
How do you reunite an orchestra separated by war? Can music bridge such a great divide?
Players from the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, rapper Eslam Jawaad and concert organiser, award-winning journalist and co-founder of Africa Express, Ian Birrell, with Jenny Waldman Director of 14-18 NOW told the story of how they came to perform together against all odds in a talk hosted by the Southbank Centre prior to their performance on 25th June. The orchestra brought together people from both sides of the conflict to perform for the first time since the country’s civil war began.
Drawing a line: from the great war to civil war
The Southbank Centre also hosted a second talk, which debated Syria, its contested borders and the migrant crisis. Historian James Barr explored the WW1 pact’s links to the current conflict, which to date has displaced nearly ten million people, one hundred years after the Sykes-Picot Agreement saw French and British diplomats carve up the Middle East.
The speakers were writer Wassim Al-Adel, who mentors displaced Syrian refugee children and youth living on the Syrian border, Regina Catrambone, the co-founder of MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), the search and rescue charity that has to date saved over 12,000 lives at sea and Ahmad al-Rashid, a Syrian campaigner born in Aleppo and recently granted asylum in the UK. The talk is chaired by Diana Darke, author of My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Crisis and Middle East expert.
A REMARKABLE JOURNEY:
REUNITING THE ORCHESTRA OF SYRIAN MUSICIANS
DRAWING A LINE:
FROM THE GREAT WAR TO CIVIL WAR