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World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge
Tara Jaff
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Musician: Tara Jaff

Location: London

Instruments: voice, harp

Music: Kurdish

HOW I CAME TO THIS MUSIC          WHERE I PLAY          A FAVOURITE SONG Click here for Hande Domac's storyClick here for Mosi Conde's storyClick here for Rachel McLeod's story


Listen to Tara and fellow-refugees perform with Eliza Carthy at
Celebrating Sanctuary 2002

This story includes material from Celebrating Sanctuary: Conversations with
Refugee Artists

(London Arts, 2002)

Listen  Listen (6'05) to 'Toshé' performed by Tara Jaff, live at 'Celebrating Sanctuary', a festival of music to mark Refugee Week, 2002.

Listen  Listen (2'26) to Tara Jaff talk about her music


A favourite song:

The song is called 'Toshé' which means what you carry with you when you travel, but luggage isn't quite poetic enough a word. The actual verse says, 'Your vision I carry in my eyes, your love I carry in my heart and your words I carry in my ears as I travel from place to place.'

My father introduced me to the work of the Kurdish poet, Mawlawi as he was always quoting verses from them. It wasn't until I started putting music to that poetry that my father actually started to support me in my musical career.

It's a song about leaving behind a loved one and it's also about being in love but not just love in the romantic sense. It's as much about love for family, friends and God and the pain of leaving that love behind. My father became ill with cancer three years ago and this verse which is the chorus in the song, is one that he'd constantly quote so I decided to put a melody to that song. The melody that I took is from a very old traditional Hawrami song. Hawrami is a dialect of Southern Kurdistan

Tara JaffToshé is one of the most powerful songs for me because it has so much personal meaning. My father passed away a year and a half ago so whenever I perform this song, I think of him. He never actually heard the final version of the song before he died. Sometimes, I hope that his spirit might hear it and I'll get a nod of approval.

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