Syria in Sussex was organised by East Hoathly village of Sanctuary on February 22nd, in the village church, which was a beautiful venue for a concert.
The organisation was set up to offer support to refugees in rural Sussex. The concert was planned as a showcase of Syrian music, and featured a great line up of musicians, with performances of folk songs by Jamal and Alaa and Syrian Classical music by Raghad Haddad on viola, accompanies by Jamal on percussion. The church was full, with people coming from the village and surrounding areas, including a large number of Syrian, who as always really got behind the musicians with their support.
During the interval, hot spiced apple juice was served, and people came and chatted with the musicians, including a local Syrian woman, who it turns out is a great singer, so hopefully she'll be singing with the band at some future concerts.
There was an additional music surprise, whilst chatting with the sound engineer Peter (who did a great job) he mentioned his passion for recording music. During the 1960s he and his friends had set up a home studio, with equipment cobbled together from anywhere they could manage, one of the groups they recorded went on to become the band Genesis.
Big thanks to Tom Serpell and everyone involved for a lovely and meaningful evening. Events like this are a great opportunity for people to come together, celebrate and begin new friendships.