Does music exist in Syria?

Music in Syria is composed of traditional music, rock, and there is even a rap influence such as Refugees of Rap; a group whose songs are about the struggles of living in a refugee camp. Syrian’s love music, and many educated residents in the city attend concerts ranging from classical European, classical Arabic, Indian pop, and even folk music.

The group comprised of four members as their name says live in a refugee camp in Syria, and the Syrian government is not allowing the band to release their new album due to the fact it criticizes the Assad regime.

A popular musician for traditional music in Syria is Omar Souleyman whose played at countless weddings and those performances were taped and sold. Omar also tours extensively, and is popular in many middle east countries. The music that is traditional is more favored by the regime as the Syrian Government doesn’t get any negative publicity. Due to that traditional music has a wide audience in Syria, and other groups get nowhere near as much coverage.

On the far other spectrum i found the band Tanjaret Daghet which literally translates to “pressure cooker”. As many musicians in Syria, Tanjaret Daghet fled Syria to Lebanon to escape military service, and be open to a more vibrant music scene. The band stays away from political issues in Syria, but often talk about their life in Syria through their songs.

Syrian movies consist mainly of documentaries about life in Syria, the revolution, and the struggle of being a refugee everyday. Occasionally Hollywood films are shown in Syrian cinemas, and these are mainly aimed at the younger audience. One of the most popular watched shows in the Arab region Bab Al-Hara is watched by millions of people, and the show chronicles the life the daily happenings and family dramas in a neighborhood in Damascus, Syria in the inter-war period under French rule when the local population yearned for independence. Although the show got canceled for a new season, at its peak it had a viewing audience of 50 million members intermixed of Muslims, Jews, and Christians from nearby states.

A scene from Bab Al-Hara (season 3)

In their leisure time, Syrians love to go on walks in the streets and parks at night and try to wear their best clothing. During the summer in Syria, ice-cream shops are popular ways to escape the local heat, and for those with money shopping is a favorite pastime. Other hangout spots include bath houses, coffeehouses, and smoking hookah is considered a tradition.


By: Rohan Kohli


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