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Iraqi Kids growing up in the sound of explosions and sirens, find Refuge in Music

The motto of "Children's Orchestra," a summer program is “Culture fights backwardness and extremism”

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Iraqi kids playing musical instruments. Image source: VOA
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Sept 06, 2016: In Iraq and many other places in the world, children grow up to the sound of explosions and sirens too often. But in a classroom in Basra, a different sound surrounds them — music.

“Children’s Orchestra” is the brainchild of Adnan Sahi, head of the music department at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Basra. The motto of this summer program is “Culture fights backwardness and extremism.”

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“Human behavior in general, and children’s is a response to a stimulus- a reflection of their environment,” Sahi says. “What we’re trying do is keep the Iraqi child from the negative environmental effects caused by the surrounding violent tensions. We try to keep our children away from the language of violence, the language of exclusion.”

This is his work of art. He envisions the “Children’s Orchestra” as a safe haven for these children. Kids as young as five can join the program to learn a set of skills they would never pick up, if they were left to play in the streets.

Enrollment in this music school is free, but students had to buy their own instruments.

ALSO WATCH: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GofZbzDJvx0&feature=youtu.be

Ridha Falah says playing instruments is a unique experience for him. “I haven’t seen a piano before, only on TV,” he says, “but now we are playing with one in addition to the guitar and violin, so it’s way better than playing with toy guns and that sort of stuff.”

Instructors volunteer to work with kids because they share Sahi’s belief that music can shield children from the violence around them and provide them with a fun and positive summer experience before they go back to school.

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Basra’s “Children’s Orchestra” is not the first attempt to help kids heal and thrive through arts.Other projects included an art program in an Iraqi orphanage in Bagdad, and a ballet school in Arbeel.

Different approaches to the same end; using art to change Iraqi children’s lives, so they can change their world. (VOA)

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Scripts that came to A.R Rahman were secondary

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Scripts that came to A.R Rahman were secondary
Scripts that came to A.R Rahman were secondary. wikimedia commons

Mumbai, Dec 19, 2017: Grammy and Oscar winning composer A.R Rahman says that in the last few years, he had not been offered many musical scripts where he could project his magic. He says his upcoming film “99 Songs” will be the answer to several questions.

Since the 1990s, Rahman has delivered hit songs like “Hamma hamma”, “Rangeela re”, “Chaiyya chaiyya” and “Jai ho”.

But if we look at some of his latest compositions, some believe that he has missed out in keeping the ‘Rahman magic’ alive.

Asked if he could find out the missing link in his latest work, Rahman told IANS here: “It also depends on what the director wants to do, like the problem that I dealt with in the last few years was that. All the films that came to me were different, where music was secondary.”

“The kind of music that you are talking about needs a certain conviction. Are they (filmmakers) coming to me with enough of that, to create good musical stories?”

He said that his upcoming production “99 Songs” would be the answer to the questions being raised. “The questions that you are asking, about me not being able to create such magic, the fact is, those kind of scripts are not coming anymore,” he added.

On producing films, he said: “There is a reason why we put so much effort to set out our production company. From here, I want to make musical stories and celebrate music ideas. So yes, in a way, in the last 25 years, my life has changed — from being a music composer to a visionary, from a writer to producer and film director,” said the artiste, who has earned the title ‘Mozart of Madras’.

The musician is currently performing in different Indian cities for his live gig A.R. Rahman Encore — The Concert in association with MTV, which celebrates 25 years of his journey as a composer.

Asked to choose his favourites, he said: “Choosing five songs is tough. I would say ‘Humma humma’, ‘Tu hi re’, ‘Maa tujhe salaam’, ‘Chaiyya chaiyya’, ‘Khwaja mere Khwaja’, but there are more.”

Which one is the closest reflection of his personality?

“I think all my compositions are the reflection of my personality and I am the combination of everything. I am funny, light-hearted when I spend time with family. And then there are times when I get into the zone of spirituality. I think such emotions and moods are there in all of us. At times, music takes us to different zones too,” he said.

Rahman has created compositions for filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker’s movies — “Lagaan”, “Swades” and “Jodhaa Akbar”, but failed to impress his fans with his last work in “Mohenjo Daro”.

“That story goes beyond our civilisation, to an era where we do not know that well about how the music was. And if you look at the story, it has got so many things happening in it. It was not a ‘Lagaan’ where the picture was clear. In ‘Mohenjo Daro’, Ashu tried something different. At least, we should appreciate that,” said the music maestro. (IANS)