Utrecht is the center of the Netherlands, the headquarters and crossroads of the national railways. Here you see the Dutch from all provinces and all walks of life changing trains at the central train station on the eve of every weekend. Utrecht is a celebration of the diversity of the local people. At the heart of it lays Rasa, a magical venue in a small alley. Once you walk into Rasa, you never know where you’re taken to. Music and dance of all genres from literally all over the world are featured there. A place where people from very different backgrounds and beliefs get a chance to practice their shared humanity. A good exercise for these times, I would say.Continue reading Memories of Syria in the heart of Holland
The Syrian singer-songwriter Lena Chamamyan (born to an Armenian family in Damascus, living currently in Paris) is one of the friends guitarist Jan Akkerman invited to play at his anniversary concert at Carré in Amsterdam on September 17. Her participation was one of the highlights of the show, especially the magical dialogue with trumpeter Eric Vloeimans. For News and Noise it was a good opportunity to speak with Lena about her work and the situation in Syria. We met her and Maher Sabra, her manager, in a busy Amsterdam terrace cafe a few days before the concert.Continue reading “We should support each other” – an interview with Lena Chamamyan
For a long time, the Palestinian plight and general Arab national themes dominated Syrian political singing. The regime of Al-Asad (father and son) left no space for songs critical of Syrian domestic politics. These days however singer-songwriter Samih Shuqair, the young Syrian singer Wasfi Massarani and the popular goalkeeper Abdul-Baset Saroot are criticizing the regime in their songs.Continue reading Three Songs from the Syrian revolution.