“Every person has two homelands… His own and Syria.”
— French archeologist André Parrot

“Damascus has seen all that has ever occurred on earth, and still she lives. She has looked on the dry bones of a thousand empires, and will see the tomb of a thousand more before she dies. Although another claims the name, old Damascus is by right, the Eternal City.”
–Mark Twain

This playlist is not all (or even mostly) Syrian musicians, but it does give you some idea of popular music from the region. It includes music made by a Syrian-Swiss musician (Gabi Masso); a pop arabesque singer from the Turkish portion of the non-autonomous Kurdistan region (Ceylan); an Arab-Kurdish superstar originally from England who has survived several assassination attempts (İbrahim Tatlıses); a Lebanese dabke singer who later became a Salafist, renounced music, and by his own account murdered two Lebanese soldiers (Fadl Shaker), and an Algerian-by-way-of-Paris raï superstar (Khaled) who has sold millions of records across the Arab World and Europe (and in the “world music” market).

–> The roots of dabka dance
–> Syrian wedding singer/world music phenom Omar Souleyman visits Brooklyn and talks about the war and his US audience

–> An eclectic Sublime Frequencies sampler featuring several Omar Souleyman tracks:


Short readings on music in relation to the Syrian War:
–> Syria’s Music Wars
–> Kurdish art and music in northeast Syria


What is the Syrian War? Who is fighting who and why? What has made this the deadliest conflict of the 21st century so far? How is the US involved?

–> More attempts to explain the Syrian War (optional):  New York Times / Al Jazeera

–> Criticism of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for their statements/policies regarding Syria

The Refugee Crisis — 7 videos, 30 minutes — opposing perspectives, refugee stories, children and music making