Arts Canteen: Stirring the arts, promoting resilience and tolerance

My blog at The New Arab

On a warm London evening, Aser al-Saqqa welcomed the audience to the Rich Mix concert hall in East London, and enthusiastically introduced the Iraqi singer Nadeen al-Khlalidi and “TarabBand“.

The band played a mix of Arabic, Middle Eastern and Western music. In addition to cheerful love songs, Nadeen sang about surviving and sharing stories as a way to cope with “scars of wars and loss”.

Nadeen’s powerful songs reflect her determinations to keep on embracing life, singing and dancing to cope with her grief. Nadeen is a refugee now living in Sweden.

“Let’s talk and be more open,” she told me. “Let’s talk about our happiness and our grief. There are people who do not like to talk about how they feel. They are ashamed of letting their vulnerability show. But I think my vulnerability with your vulnerability becomes power.”

This concert was organized by Arts Canteen, an organisation presenting Arabic arts and culture to UK audiences, supporting independent and emerging artists, challenging stereotypes and enriching cultural diversity and mutual understanding.

 

Please continue reading the blog at The New Arab website

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