By Ruba Hattar
Action for Hope launches the "Syria Music Map" website www.syriamusicmap.org, a project that includes 100 songs and music tracks of the Syrian folk, ethnic and religious heritage, distributed to Syrian cities and regions, taking into account the complexity and intersection between many of them.
The main objective of the site is to contribute to the preservation of this musical heritage and to put what is available in the hands of future generations, so that they can recognize and preserve it in turn.
This project started as an idea in 2018, and its execution began in the summer of 2020. The execution was carried out in several stages, including the research and the collection of musical materials from inside Syria, the stage of recording many tracks with the graduates of the Action for Hope Music School, and of course the stages of material editing and site design.
This map was produced by the hard work of a large group of musicians, researchers and folk performers, namely; Fawaz Baker, Rami Al-Jundi, Firas Charestan, Christin Zino, Khaled Allaf, Zeina Chahla, Samer Ibrahim, Rinda Hemo, Alaa El-Eliawi and Nisrine Alaa El-Dine. Web development: Fusion Second, Graphic design: Wissam AbdulFattah, Action for Hope Music School graduates’ tracks recording and mixing: Karam Abu Ayach,
management and coordination: Khaled Warwar – Farah Kaddour – Sara Zein – Basma El-Husseiny.
The project is supported by the Cultural Protection Fund - The British Council.
Action for Hope started in summer 2013 as a pilot program under the umbrella of Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy), the leading pan Arab cultural organization and provider of services and support to the independent cultural field in the region.
The genesis of the project was a trip made by a delegation of 17 Arab artists and cultural activists to the Syrian refugee camps in Kilis, Turkey and to nearby camps inside the Syrian border in November 2012.
This diverse group of artists, actors, filmmakers, and writers originally came together with a plan to show the solidarity of the Arab cultural community with the Syrian people in crisis, by bringing donations to the camps, sharing their skills with camp residents through some impromptu cultural workshops or events, and talking to camp residents. This visit was organized independently of any state or institutional support.
Visiting these communities made a deep impact on the members of this delegation, and revealed two essential facts: that displacement into the camps had a dehumanizing and demoralizing effect due to the disintegration of the whole social fabric, and that existing relief efforts were not addressing the whole human cost of the displacement.
In early 2015, the Action for Hope cultural relief program and activities were re-formulated to respond to the findings and evaluations of the pilot phase. The most important change after the pilot was to add to the “relief” elements such as cultural relief convoys more sustainable cultural development programs that have a deeper impact on communities and on the arts and culture scene such as the music school, advanced training in video and theater, and the university scholarships in the arts.
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