A Symphony for Syria
Amy Zayed tells the story of how 50 Syrian musicians beat the odds to find their way from their home country and across Europe to perform together in Amsterdam.
A symphony for Syria is the story of how 50 Syrian musicians beat the odds to find their way to Holland to perform together. The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians first played with British songwriter Damon Albarn in 2008. Since then, a civil war has divided their country and forced many to rethink many aspects of their lives. Some have decided to live in Europe whilst others have stayed in Syria and continued to try and perform even as their compatriots have died and lost their homes around them.
Amy Zayed explores their lives through music in Syria and their newly adopted countries. And it puts their music in a rich tradition of Syrian performances dating back 3000 years. We share their emotions as Damon Albarn and Africa Express attempt to reunite his old friends in Amsterdam. Can all the members make it to Holland? Is there time to get the music together? And we follow their first concert and what they hope will be an enthusiastic and emotional reception from a European audience as they attempt to persuade them that Syria is not just about war but amazing musical culture as well.
Africa Express presents The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians
Co-commissioned by Holland Festival and 14-18 NOW.
(Photo: Singer of British band Blur, Damon Albarn performs on stage during a concert with The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians in the Carre Theatre in Amsterdam. Credit: European Photo Agency)