Masters of Syria is an occasional orchestra that largely consists of members of the Syrian National Orchestra of Arabic Music. Because of the war in Syria, many of the orchestra members fled their home country. Damon Alborn (Blur, Gorrillaz) took the initiative to get this orchestra back together, under the name Syrian National Orchestra, and toured the world with them. Nowadays the group performs under the name "Masters of Syria" at festivals and in concert halls in Europe. The orchestra is conducted by Basel Saleh, who is from Homs (1975) and studied at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus. Among other things, he was "Conductor of Orchestra of Syrian Musicians (Africa Express)" and "Conductor of the choir at the Academy of Art and The Arabic Heritage in London."
Concert and after party
Mireille Bittar - Soprano. Finished her Masters in Classical Singing at the Conservatory of Amsterdam in 2018 where she is currently involved as a guest teacher. Mireille Bittar is from Syria, studied at the High Institute of Music in Damascus, worked with the Syrian Women Oriental Ensemble and many other orchestras inside and outside Syria, has been living in the Netherlands since 2015 and is the founder of the Mozaiek Ensemble.
The Syrian singer Shaza Hayek (1981) studied at the Conservatory in Damascus and fled to the Netherlands with her family a few years ago. Shaza Hayek is one of the leading interpreters of the genre. Just in the Netherlands, she soon appeared at the VPRO program Free Sounds, among others.
Imagine a musician with stories from the street, the linguistic feeling of Gerard Reve and the charm of James Dean and voilà, you have Freez. This Zwolle songsmith starts his career as a hip hopper and now writes songs full of dark romance.
From behind the piano he forges serious rap with catchy melodies that he plays live with the band. His music is raw, urban and honest with a huge dose of sense of language and poetry. Hip-hop noir that disguises itself as a catchy pop. Songs full of reflections on the life of himself and the people around him, sincere and not shy of what lives in the shadow. It is not for nothing that Typhoon, Rico & Sticks and Spinvis like to work with him and he has repeatedly been a guest artist for a full Ziggo Dome and Heineken Music Hall. After his debut album Les Demoiselles, Freez takes you on his new album in his quest from a young rapper to a man who wants to excel in life and in music. The only artist who quietly calls Arctic Monkeys, Spinvis and Snoop Dogg in one breath and then, grinning, takes you back the other way just as hard.
Yallah! Yallah! Afterparty
Yallah! Yallah! points the way to the east with the hottest and wildest party squatters from the Arab world: From Moroccan hip hop to Egyptian wedding music, via Lebanese speeddabke to stairs from Syria. Created at Lowlands 2017, since then a guarantee for bubble-breaking dance floors. Forget fairy tales and belly dancers: In the 1,002 night we dance on real Arab grooves, Yallah!
A founding member of Arab Hip Hop group Arap, Eslam jawaad went on to record, perform and tour with Gorillaz, The Good The Bad and The Queen, Africa Express, and Wu Tang.