“Music is a Revolution”: Solo Recitals’ Festival in Qamishli
This week witnessed the conclusion of the first round of the “Solo Recitals’ Festival”, conducted in the city of Qamishli for four days and in the presence of artists from several Syrian cities.
The festival kicked off under the slogan: “In the midst of Revolution, Music is a Revolution.”
It was organized by the “Jazira Artists Union” in coordination with the “Culture and Arts Committee,” affiliated with the Kurdish “Self-Management.”
The festival managed to combine all the area’s constituents, for 40 Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian male and female artists participated in its events, finding a chance to present their talents and get introduced to each other. In addition to this, the jury consisted of several experienced personalities from the area, while the whole action took place before a diverse audience.
The festival aimed to shed a light on the culture and folklore of the areas in northern and eastern Syria, in addition to showing support for the oriental stringed instruments and enhancing their presence in the area.
Stringed Instruments were the Spectacle
A member of the Organizing Committee, on the condition of anonymity, told Enab Baladi that the festival’s importance arises from it being organized for the first time in the Jazira area; this is the first round of it, and it might be followed by others.
He added that the festival is a chance to the applicants to exhibit their talents, as they included professional musicians and others who are becoming professionals, but they were not offered the chance to perform before an audience or appear on cameras. The festival, thus, was their opportunity to stand in the spotlight.
The festival’s events also provided the musicians a space to know each other and for the fans a chance to be introduced to musicians they are not familiar with. The audience is also given the chance to enjoy new musical pieces.
The member of the Organizing Committee explained that the festival is dedicated to musicians who play stringed instruments, including Buzuq, Tanbur, Baglama, Oud, Violin and Guitar.
Before the launch, the festival was announced, and applications were received. The conditions included contacting the Organizing Committee for preliminary approval, for each applicant was asked to send a video of him/her playing a solo piece as to evaluate their skills.
The Organizing Committee’s member explained that choosing the winners was the responsibility of the jury, which consisted of five members of the area’s renowned musicians. As for the mechanism, participating musicians were given points separately and then calculated as to name the winners.
Out of 40 male and female participants, five musicians won, where the first and the second rank were shared by two musicians each, while the third was awarded to a single musician based on the calculated points.
The festival is expected to have other rounds, in which the Organizing Committee will overcome some of the logistic obstacles it faced this year.
20 Minutes for Each Musician
Shiyar Kiki, a player of Baglama from the city of Ras al-Ayn, Serê Kaniyê, who ranked first along with Ribaz Jouli from the city of Amuda, told Enab Baladi that the festival provided him with the chance to perform his music before a diverse audience, and it contributed to presenting the people the joint heritage of all the Syrian components.
About the application and what he presented during the festival, he pointed out that he is a member of the “Culture and Arts” center in Ras al-Ayn and that he heard of the festival through a news published by the “Artists Union.”
He added that he prepared two separate musical pieces, in addition to two folkloric Kurdish songs, explaining that each participant was given 20 minutes to perform his/her musical piece and that the Jury followed specific artistic criteria to choose the winners.
He said that the festival is almost the first competition he participated in, though his experience as a musician is more than 14 years.
He expressed his joy over winning and the audience’s encouragement and thanked the festival’s administration, the organizers and the jury for all the efforts they put as to make this event a success.
Artistic Mosaic of Jazira
The Jazira region, through time, has offered a rich nature, in terms of cultural, civilizational and artistic diversity, in Syria, being home to several artists, singers and dramatists.
Despite the massive efforts put by the Syrian regime in the past six decades to create separation and enhance seclusion and cultural and intellectual divergence among Arabs, Kurds and other components, many works of art keep giving an example of the harmony in the Jazira’s mosaic.
The artistic matrix of the life in the region of Jazira, including poetry, songs and theater, was affected by the security tensions of the last eight years, especially in the period where the “Islamic State” (ISIS) was in control and the siege it imposed.
Art persists to be the real trigger of awareness and the raw material for any civilizational cultural dialogue, which is to inspire a state of tolerance, convergence and understanding between the different constituents of the Syrian society, which contributes to creating a new formula of the overall Syrian national identity.
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