The refugee crisis still dominates European politics - even musically. In July 2016, the world music album Amerli recorded by refugees for refugees, peaked at #1 of the Transglobal World Music Charts.
Being moved by the scenes of migrants arriving in Europe, Muziekpublique had decided to bring together around twenty musicians living in Belgium, who are refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tibet. Their objective is to reveal talents and cultural treasures that have become virtually invisible in Belgium. These are experienced musicians who have been trained at some of the most prestigious music academies in the Middle East (Damascus, Baghdad, Aleppo) and who have passed through a string of musical centres dotted along the former Silk road.
Tarek Al Sayed (ud), Tammam Ramadan (ney) and Khaled Al Hafez (vocals & percussion) met each other in the halls of the Aleppo Conservatory. Their common musical interests quickly led them to create a band together. Since they left Syria, the musicians have been separated but they continue to play together in Belgium under the name Wajd Band.
Refugees for Refugees aims at highlighting these virtuosos who took part in it, but also at supporting artistic activities with other refugees in Belgium. A part of the benefits from the CD sale will go to Globe Aroma and Synergie 14 to support their activities.
"Refugee", featuring unreleased original songs from the likes of Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Linda Thompson, Alasdair Roberts, Richard Dawson and many more, is a collaborative recording project which reflects, through song, the issue of the refugee crisis in its many forms. All proceeds go to MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), who've saved over 13,000 lives at sea in the Aegean, Andaman and Mediterranean Sea since October 2013.
The concept came about from Scottish singer-songwriter Robin Adams, who called on his close friends and musical colleagues from around the world to contribute to the project: “I found myself increasingly disturbed by a growing number of reports from many reputable independent media outlets, not only describing the horror of the Syrian crisis itself but also a shocking lack of coverage in the mainstream media. What little coverage there was I found to be deeply troubling given the insensitive nature of the reporting ... It occurred to me that organising a charity album might be the best way I could help.”
Last but not least, the Borderless Team of Stephan Said (vocals, guitar), Seban Rashid (tambur), Alejandro Ruiz Ortega (ukelele), and a refugee chorus from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Pakistan, Libya and Yemen had created an anthemic music video with refugees living in camps across Greece. The "No More Lines" video was recorded in June 2016 at the Eko Station Refugee Camp near Polykastro, Greece, with hundreds of refugees from many countries as well as relief workers.
“If you like what you see and hear, please share it as widely as possible within your social networks, to help build the #withrefugees and #refugeeswelcome movements across the world. The most powerful thing we can do to counter fascism and anti-migration sentiment is to actually give voice to the refugees themselves. Monday, June 20 is World Refugee Day -- but for the people in this video, and millions of others like them all over the world, that day is everyday.”
No More Lines I'm just a refugee from a world Where people are cruel and living unequally And I'm getting over, over and over Promises broken, innocents lost Over and over singing together Holding our hearts on love so divine There's a place that everyone dreams of No more borders and no more lines! No more lines, no more lines! Go tell the priests to make one religion, Make one religion for humankind See all the children and people Praying weary of waiting at the lines We all know there's one creation One creation underneath the sky Why can't we live like one people One people, no borders or lines?
Photo Credits: (1) "Refugees for Refugees", (2) "Refugee", (3) Stephan Said, (4) Robin Adams, (5) Transglobal World Music Chart (unknown/website).