The Basmeh wa Zaitouneh [A Smile and and Olive] organization has recently launched a series of concerts given by a choir comprised of Syrian children. This is an expression of thanks and gratitude to all the varied spectrum of Lebanese people, for their support of and assitance given to the refugees, and as a small attempt to give something back.
The last concert of this project took place in the Babel Theater in Beirut, on Friday November 7th, 2014, with the participation of Lebanese singer Omaima Khalil.
Fadi Talmas, the organization's director, tells Rozana that they were strongly determined to help the children find an free space, in which they can be able to express themselves.
He adds: "The idea began with a musical creativity workshop, aiming to offer the children a space for creativity outside their curriculum. The composition of lyrics as well as melodies in the workshop followed; then the idea of a choir followed."
Talmas continues: "We did not even plan for choir concerts, at the beginning. But the organization's team and the children came up with the idea of offering the children's work as a token of thanks to Lebanon for hosting us. We insisted on making the Basmeh wa Zaitouneh choir an opportunity open for all to freely express themelves, free from any attempt to interfere or impose a particular ideological outlook."
Marwan Hammouche, choir director and composer, confirms that the songs came from the reality of what the chidlren had been suffering. They actually co-authored parts thereof.
He explains: "The concerts were an expression of the reality in which we, as Syrians, live in Lebanon. Many Syrian children are now living in Lebanon, and they are suffering numerous problems, especially as they are trying to fit in. I sensed their feelings, and the love they carry inside them for this place in which they live. This is how the idea for a project through which they can express all these feelings was created; hence the [Thank You Card] project."