On 5 December 2020, we kick started our Celebrating Syria 2020 festival with the Kiwan Family, from their living room! From their cosy living room in London, they performed a selection of modern and traditional songs from the Syrian and Levantine heritage.
Although the four musicians have been performing across the UK since leaving Syria, lockdown did not seem to get in the way between the Kiwan Family and our audience. Father, Osama Kiwan (vocalist and oud player) and mother, Eleen Hilal (vocalist and music and Samah Sufi dance teacher) sang alongside their son, Hatem (vocalist, pianist, violaist, and composer) and their daughter, Hanen (vocalist, percussionist and clarinetist) as they all took us on a journey filled with oriental rhythms and melodies. It was a night to remember!
This event is part of Celebrating Syria 2020: a Festival of Arts and Culture. For the full programme and to know more about the festival, please visit www.celebratingsyria.org
‘Alone together’ is the theme of this year’s Celebrating Syria Festival on the account that the virtual format will allow individuals to connect with artists, performers, writers and filmmakers from all over the world from the comfort of their own home. Our previous festivals have been a momentous success and thanks to the pandemic we now have the opportunity to target an international audience.
Celebrating Syria Festival is Europe’s largest arts and culture festival organised annually by Rethink Rebuild Society as part of our mission to keep the Syrian cause in the public eye as well as to share the richness and diversity of Syrian culture with people who might only know Syria through the media. Arts and culture have been one of our best ways of shining a light on different aspects to Syria and the Syrian people’s way of life.
This year the festival has a jam-packed programme full of interesting events including The Kiwan Family- from their living room to yours, a stand-up comedy act including 5 incredibly funny Arab Comedians and Cartooning Syria…and the rest of the world- a political cartoon exhibition and panel discussion with some of the artists. The festival will also include a collection of film screenings, music gigs, a discussion with a food researcher to name but a few.