There are so many stories that stick with me, each poignant and powerful. Fouad, a saz (double-coursed string instrument) player and anaesthetic nurse from the Kurdish portion of Syria now training to become a bus driver, writing and recording a song called “Connection” with a classically trained violinist from Caracas, Venezuela, Vanessa; they ways in which they accommodated one another as one played in an Arabic maqam (kurd and hijaz) on a saz and the other in an equally tempered scale on a classical violin, as they sought to literally connect and write a “bridge” in their song to span the diversity of their musical styles between the verse and the chorus. How Fouad, on the fourth day of the workshop, began to share his experiences growing up in Arab-dominated Syria, where he was disallowed from speaking his mother tongue in school or even in public places, and where even his own Kurdish city of Kobanî was renamed with an Arabic name (Ayn al-Arab) and how, for him, refusing to identify as Muslim since moving to Finland has become his own form of self-decolonization.
Initiator/Lead Organizer: Klisala Harrison (University of Helsinki)
Cofacilitator: Naomi Sunderland (Griffith University)
Cofacilitator: Kristina Jacobsen (University of New Mexico)
Local Arranger: Rosa Rantanen (Finnish Red Cross)
In-Kind Venue Facilitator: Jussi-Pekka Paija (Yränän kohtaamispaikka)
Funder: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts (Musicology), Guest Researcher Program
In-kind sponsors: Finnish Red Cross, Åbo Rock Academy, Yränän kohtaamispaikka (Turku, Finland), Academy of Finland, Griffith University School of Human Services & Social Work, Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre at Griffith University, Aabo Rock Academy, Yränän Kohtaamispaikka.
25-28 June 2018, Turku, Finland