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Talk: Syrian Traditional Music

Celebrating Syria Festival Launch: Researcher Hassan Abbas sheds light on the abundance of different forms of Syrian traditional music

We had the first talk: “Syrian Traditional Music” as part of Celebrating Syria Festival at the Anthony Burgess Foundation on Saturday 2 November 2019. Professor Hassan Abbas, who traveled from Lebanon to the UK to deliver his talk, shed light of the abundance of the intangible cultural heritage displayed through different forms of Syrian traditional music. He explored the cultural influences throughout Syrian history that made this art form what is known to us today. Abbas complemented his talk with beautifully recorded samples of various music styles which he shared with audience. It was a packed house and audience truly enjoyed the event.

The eastern Mediterranean region has been a fertile soil for many civilisations throughout history. Because of its unique location and resources, and the fact that it was the birthplace of all three Abrahamic religions, it nurtured an interesting mix of cultures which left an impact on different aspects of day to day life as well as art.

These cultures are still preserved till this day – or at least traces of them, despite the rapidly changing and often violent history they had to endure. These remnants form the fascinating mosaic heritage that characterises the region today. Although this glorious heritage can be witnessed in edifices, ruins and monuments, it is still heavily represented in integral aspects of peoples’ lives in narratives of tales, proverbs, poems, feasts, rituals and music.

Professor Hassan Abbas

Born in Mesyaf, Syria in 1955, Professor Abbas holds a PhD in Literature from the New Sorbonne University- Paris III.

He was a professor and researcher at Institut français du Proche-Orient (IFPO) in Damascus then in Beirut between 1992 and 2016 and a professor at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus from 2000 to 2009. He is currently the director of the "Culture as Resistance" programme at Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at the American University of Beirut.

He has published many studies and several books in the fields of culture, citizenship and civil society, and books.

Abbas is the founder and president of the Syrian League for Citizenship and has participated in the establishment and management of several associations working in culture, human rights and citizenship, as well as several film and literary clubs.


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