A song for Syria

Arab composer recalls a Syria unlike the one you see on the news

(Facebook/Suad Bushnaq)

A 33-year-old composer from North Carolina who studied music in Syria prior to the civil war there is distraught over the nation’s fate in recent years, and the images shown in the media of what the country has become amid the unrest. Suad Bushnaq is dealing with those feelings of loss in what may be the most natural way for her to do so: by letting them inspire her music. In an interview with Mother Jones, Bushnaq, who studied music in Damascus, remembered Syria as a culturally vibrant place, a far cry from the war-torn nation Americans have become familiar with as news reports of ISIS atrocities and fleeing refugees emerge from the chaos. “No one [in the West] has the image of the Syria that I know,” Bushnaq, one of reportedly only a few Arab women composers in the world, said. She’s composed a number of orchestral pieces and scores that evoke the feelings of inspiration she felt during her days in Damascus. In September, the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra played a portion of her orchestral suite Hakawaty (Suite for Damascus) to a packed house in Bremen, Germany. “It makes me happy to know that the music scene is still going,” she said. “It shows me that despite the war, people are still trying their best to live.”

Read the full story at Mother Jones.

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