The London Syrian Ensemble are a collective of some of the Damascus Conservatoire’s finest musicians, now based in the UK, and Conway Hall have donated their beautiful wood-panelled space in Holborn for the Ensemble to perform during Refugee Week.
Their sound mixes traditional Middle Eastern instruments – oud (lute), ney (flute), kanun (zither) –with violins, violas, double bass, percussion, and guest vocalists. They perform twentieth-century Syrian classics and they’ll be premiering some new music on the night. They’re trained in the powerful rhythms and the hundreds of lush impassioned melodic loops or maqams of Syrian musical tradition, and they will perform a suite of instrumental pieces, improvisations and songs with a huge emotional range and depth.
All the proceeds of the concert will go to the Marhabtayn Trust. Marhabtayn is a charity run by Londoners – both Syrian and non-Syrian – working to show solidarity with people caught up in Syria’s conflict and refugee crisis. It sends grants to people and groups who need money to deal with some of Syria’s many enormous personal tragedies – disability, displacement, detention, siege and family crises. The proceeds of the concert all go to Marhabtayn’s partners: community groups working in Lebanon and Syria providing direct assistance to people in need.