“This gift of musical knowledge has remained with me throughout many journeys, during which it has soothed wounds, inspired creativity, and provided a platform of stability.”
– Basel Rajoub, Syrian saxophonist and composer
Geneva, Switzerland, 20 June 2016 – Syrian saxophonist and composer Basel Rajoub and his Soriana Project are the featured performers for the 2016 commemoration of World Refugee Day at the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva today. First marked in 2001, World Refugee Day is observed each year on 20 June to commemorate the “strength, courage, and perseverance of millions of refugees,” according to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.
Rajoub and Soriana are part of the artist roster of the Aga Khan Music Initiative (AKMI), which supports musicians and music educators from 11 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East who are working to preserve, revitalise and transmit their musical heritage to new generations of artists and audiences.
Soriana translated as “Our Syria” is a project which brings together eminent performer-composer-improvisers from Syria and the West who create contemporary music inspired by the rich cultural heritage of the Middle East. Rajoub, himself living away from his homeland, Syria, notes that he has been sustained by the knowledge of his own cultural heritage that he has carried with him. “This gift of musical knowledge has remained with me throughout many journeys, during which it has soothed wounds, inspired creativity, and provided a platform of stability,” said Rajoub.
Aga Khan Music Initiative (AKMI) supports sustaining musicianship and music making —both amateur and professional — for and within displaced communities. Though support for music and other forms of cultural expression is often viewed as a low priority in humanitarian assistance programmes for refugees, AKMI believes that art and music offer a unique resource and can sustain hope and provide an intangible, yet indestructible link to cultural memory, which, eventually becomes the catalyst of cultural revitalisation.
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- AKDN | UNHCR selects AKMI roster artists Basel Rajoub and Soriana Project to perform for UN World Refugee Day commemoration
- Aga Khan Music Initiative (AKMI)
- Soriana Project
Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali