Love From Syria, was launched on 17 June 2018 at the Bedford Refugee Week Celebrations at The Harpur Suite, Corn Exchange. You can listen online here.
Roshi Nasehi worked with refugee family participants from Bedford’s Kings Arms Project on an innovative adventure exploring time-stretched audio landscapes.
Love From Syria is a sound piece created in collaboration with Syrian refugee families who Roshi met during her residency at the Kings Arms project in Bedford in April 2018 as part of a commission from Bedford Music In Detention. During the residency, the group shared many traditional Syrian songs and stories, which she recorded.
This piece is derived from two individual recordings of a husband, Mahmoud, and his wife, Yaman, singing the traditional Syrian Love song, “Lamma Bada Yatathanna”. We explored singing the song through echoes and delay effects. Roshi then time-stretched the audio to make a seven minute track. Each minute represents a year of the Syrian war.
The piece seeks to reflect their feelings about the last seven years, as expressed in their own words,
‘intense fear. Depression. The breaking of personalities as well as our homes and towns.’
Insight from the commissioned artist about Love from Syria. Interviewed by Gini Simpson. Roshi Nasehi – ‘Love From Syria’
Roshi Nasehi is a Welsh born singer and composer of Iranian parentage. She is the founder of an experimental, electronic Welsh-Iranian folk pop genre and has shown work at The Museum of London, the Southbank 2012 WOW festival and the British Council. Roshi was selected from an open artist call run by Bedford MID, to work with Syrian families now making their lives in Bedford. Her focus was to create an artistic act of hospitality with newly arrived families. The project was based at the Kings Arms Project, a social action initiative supporting homeless people in the town.
This residency comprised 4 sessions with couples and their children. Artistic sound tools were used to engage families, to create an initial platform for their voices, to experiment with effects and to make resonant creative art works. To start off with, Roshi shared a lullaby from the 80’s woman’s peace camp, Greenham Common. The camp was a protest against siting cruise missiles in Berkshire, initiated by a group of women from Wales. These women used their identity as mothers to make a protest against nuclear weapons a protest for the safety of children and future generations, a frequently recurrent theme with important links to the safety of children in war zones and the safety of displaced children and their families in 2018. This then inspired sharing of lullabies, dance, love songs and stories which were personally meaningful and came from Syria, the UK or elsewhere, on route. Stories shared by families revealed powerful themes of fear, collapse and dislocation, which fed into co-created art works.
The final art work, ‘Love From Syria’ is a beautiful, wistful piece of art, where sounds, inspired by shared songs have been mixed and stretched to create 7 minutes of audio, each minute represents a year of the 7-year war in Syria.
Image Credit: Caroline Connaughton Photography