Celebrating Syria Festival Launch

Come along to the launch of the 5th Celebrating Syria festival. This unforgettable night will feature a live performance by singer Omran Zain, with Kareem Samara on oud and Walid Zedo on percussion. Learn more about this year’s festival programme and in an informal and welcoming atmosphere in the amazing Event Space at HOME.

Omran Zain studied oriental-Arabic classical singing at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus, Syria, where he specialised in classical singing, and also mastered fusing singing  with contemporary jazz.

As a member of the National Syrian Orchestra, Omran performed at the Damascus Opera House. He has also worked with the English virtual band, Gorillaz. In 2016 he completed a tour across Europe, including the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, and Turkey. During this tour he performed at world-famous festivals such as Glastonbury and Roskilde. He also performed at WOMAD Festival in 2017 and with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 2018.

Omran’s current project, which will be released soon, involves converting various traditional Arabic pieces into modern jazz songs. This project will incorporate elements of music and an expressive style of dancing and performing. Original songs are also in progress.

Walid Zedo is a percussionist, educated and trained at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus, specialising in classical and oriental music. He was a member of the Syria National Orchestra, the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music, the Arab Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians and many others. Walid has performed in opera houses across the world, including the UK, Germany, Algeria, Morocco and Lebanon.

Kareem Samara is a musician, composer, and organiser from London.  His practice investigates the intersections of struggles and combines traditional Arabic instruments with electronics to create a unique soundscape of protest. He is a serial collaborator (Smoked Poets, Ryan Harvey) and he often composes for various theatres in and around the UK.

Ticket prices
We are committed to making Celebrating Syria accessible to everyone. For each ticketed event three different prices are available, following the ‘solidarity economy’ approach. The highest price is intended for high waged, the middle price for low and medium waged and the lowest price (always £1) for unwaged. This means you can choose the price that suits you. By choosing a higher price, if you can afford it, you are supporting the festival and enabling lower earners to attend festival events. We base our ticketing structure on trust, so no evidence of income is required.

As usual, asylum seekers can attend all events for free. If you require the £1 or free tickets, please contact info@rrsoc.org or on 0161 222 9779.

About Celebrating Syria


Building on 4 years of success, culminating in an entirely virtual festival in December 2020, Rethink Rebuild Society persists with its creative mission, showcasing the talent and creativity of Syrian artists in the UK and presenting a truly bright image of Syria and its culture and heritage, an image that has long been neglected amidst the war and the refugee crisis.

The 5th Celebrating Syria Festival will take place from  11-26 March 2022 and will be a hybrid of events held online and in person. It will feature, among other activities, an art exhibition, a theatre performance, live music, films, panel discussions and interactive art workshops, and will end with a family fun day. There will be something for everyone.

The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Distance’, or Masafat مسافات in Arabic, a title that is ‘inspired’ by social distancing measures imposed on us all as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, where isolation and distance became the norm and many people stayed away from loved ones. ‘Distance’ also sums up the experiences of many Syrian and non-Syrian people, forcibly displaced, exiled or refugees around the world as a result of injustice.

With this theme in mind, the festival uses arts and culture to challenge physical, emotional and cultural distance and barriers, bringing people closer to one another, reducing isolation, alienation and marginalisation and reinforcing dialogue and integration in the multicultural society of Manchester and the UK at large.

3 hours

£12.50 / £7 / £1

As usual, asylum seekers can attend all events for free. If you require the £1 or free tickets, please contact info@rrsoc.org or on 0161 222 9779.