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Refugees for Refugees

25.07.2019 - 21:00 @Heroes' Square - Limassol, Free Entrance

The Rialto Theatre, supported by the UNHCR in Cyprus, invited the group Refugees for Refugees to participate at the Rialto World Music Festival. The group brings together renowned musicians from Syria, Tibet, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Belgium who are united by their desire to create links between their music. The group has developed an original repertoire at the crossroads between their different traditions.


The idea for the creation of the band started in 2015 aimed to do an album uniting refugee musicians. Muziekpublique assembled a group of virtuoso performers from different regions of the world who have put down roots in Belgium and who hope to make their voices heard through their music. Their objective was to reveal talents and cultural treasures that have become virtually invisible in Belgium. The CD Amerli released finally in May 2016, with the participation of 20 musicians. After the release, the band was formed with ten of them, under the artistic direction of Tristan Driessens, belgian musicologist and Turkish our player.


Musicians: Asad Qizilbash: sarod, Aren Dolma: vocals, Fakher Madallal: vocals, percussion, Kelsang Hula: dramyen, vocals, Mohammad Aman Yusufi: dambura, vocals, Simon Leleux: percussion, Souhad Najem: qanun, Tammam Al Ramadan: ney, Tareq Alsayed Yahya: oud, Tristan Driessens: oud


Aren Dolma was born in the Tibetan mountains, in the region of Amdo. That’s where she started learning to sing when she still was a child. She built an impressive musical career until her departure to India and her nal arrival in Belgium.


Next to the mandolin, Kelsang Hula plays the dramyen, a Tibetan lute. He also sings, dances and composes. He ran away from Tibet with his instrument and arrived in Dharamsala where the Dalai-Lama told him to enter the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts.


Tammam Al Ramadan and Tarek Alsayed Yahya met at the Aleppo Conservatory and started playing together at that time. They were teaching nay and ud, at the Conservatory and started a band which would become the Wajd Ensemble. Their repertoire is based on a classical music tradition and speci c su  music of this region.


Coming from the Aleppo region too, Fakher Madallal breathes Syrian tradition as he learned it from his father Sabri Mdallal, who was a renowned Syrian traditional singer and songwriter.


Thanks to his father K.H. Qizilbash, a renowned violinist in Pakistan, Asad Qizilbash has been immersed in music since childhood, developing a great love for the songs of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He quickly became a violin and guitar master, but after having seen a performance of master Amjad Ali Khan, he decided to focus on the sarod, a nineteen strings instrument. Asad became this instrument’s only representative in Pakistan and enjoyed international recognition, giving concerts around the world (he played for Nelson Mandela and G. W. Bush and at Womad).


Tristan Driessens is recognized in Belgium as one of the main references in ud and Turkish classical music (makam). He collaborates with Tcha Limberger, Derya Turkan, Kudsi Erguner and Emre Gultekin, and he is the artistic director of Ensemble Lamekan and Refugees for Refugees.


Specialized in percussion from the Middle East, Simon Leleux excels in the derbuka and the doholla. Following the teachings of his master Levent Yildirim, he also feeds on various in uences, from Indian music to Balkan music, Iran, Armenia and Turkey.


Souhad Najem is one of those who truly masters the qanun. As a former student of the Music Institute in Baghdad and subsequently teacher in Iraq, Tunisia and Kuwait, he is the author of a volume of compositions that is reputed as a classic for teaching the qanun.


Sponsor: UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in Cyprus

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