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Music is a universal language that unites people around the world. It reminds us of who we are, where we come from, and the moments that matter the most.
Tomorrow, the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, which features former and current members of the Syrian National Orchestra, will take the stage at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in London for a special performance, presented by Africa Express, that will be live streamed globally on YouTube from 7:30 p.m. BST (11:30 a.m. PST) at youtu.be/aH_FP67cLP0.
As a result of the ongoing conflict, many Syrian musicians, including the orchestra’s conductor Issam Rafea, have been forced to leave their homes. This performance will see musicians who previously worked with Damon Albarn on the Gorillaz track “White Flag,” travelling from both inside and outside Syria to reunite for an orchestral performance of Arabic music with Albarn and other guest performers – including Bashy, Bassekou Kouyaté, Bu Kolthoum, Eslam Jawaad, Faia Younan, Julia Holter, Malikah, Mounir Troudi, Noura Mint Seymali, Paul Weller, Rachid Taha, and Seckou Keita – to highlight and celebrate the remarkable music culture of Syria.
Communities around the globe are likewise coming together to host viewings of the performance, including at the YouTube Space in New York and Berlin; at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts Brussels; and in homes and cultural centers around the world.
Tune in on Saturday, June 25 at 11:30 a.m. PST, 7:30 p.m. BST to watch the concert live alongside viewers around the world, or catch the event afterwards, all at youtube.com/africaexpress. The concert was co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and Holland Festival.
David Mogendorff, Artist Relations and Music Partnerships for YouTube, recently watched “Saviour by Jacob Collier.”