Release Date: Dec 16, 2016
Record label: Transgressive
The Syrian Civil War started five years ago, following the violent response of Bashar al-Assad’s security forces to protests in the southern city of Deraa. Nationwide opposition demanded Assad’s resignation, which was met by swift and violent governmental retribution. In the years since, the violence has widened to an unimaginable scope: a multi-front conflict with numerous international and domestic players vying for control or stability of the region.
While their country collapsed into bloodshed and chaos, members of the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music were reunited for one of the most emotional tours of the summer, with concerts at Glastonbury and across Europe. But, as this was an Africa Express production, they were performing at adventurous, free-wheeling events characterised by unexpected collaboration. This live album starts and ends with fine performances from the orchestra, with their sturdy vocal work matched against flutes, strings and percussion.