Please note that this event starts at 20:30.
Tickets on sale from Thursday 29 July at 10.30 am!
“Above all we want to be thought of as musicians, as people, and not just as refugees.”
To celebrate this change of name and to present you with Refa’s new repertoire, we are organizing this concert in a very special place: The former veterinary school at Anderlecht. This imposing building in neo-Renaissance Flemish style is an icon of the commune of Anderlecht! The place where veterinary students studied from 1892 until 1991, it has very recently been renovated and we are offering you the chance to discover its interior at this unusual concert, which will take place in the main hall. You cannot fail to admire the work that went into renovating the decorative details of this remarkable space.
After a fantastic adventure lasting five years, with two albums, more than a hundred concerts in Belgium and abroad and numerous awards and rave reviews, including the first place in the annual list of the Transglobal World Music Charts in 2016 and the Klara for best Belgian world music album in 2019, Refugees for Refugees are writing a new chapter of their story: they will continue under a new name and a new line-up. Refugees for Refugees becomes Refa, presenting a wholly new repertoire built up, as always, around the musical traditions of the different regions of the world from which the musicians who make up the collective originate. “Above all we want to be thought of as musicians, as people, and not just as refugees.”. These are the words of Tarek Alsayed, member of the group and player of the Syrian oud. “The name of our group confined us to a role of victim. We want organizers to put us in their programmes for our music and not just because we are refugees.” The message is clear: that’s enough of labels, let’s concentrate on the music! So the new name is also a combination of two musical notes: D and F, i.e. re and fa in solfeggio. This choice was not purely anodyne, and that’s not all, Tarek tells us: “In ancient hieroglyphs and in Phoenician languages, Res or R means “head”, and Pe or F means “mouth”. One could interpret Refa as meaning “the voice of mankind”.
And in conclusion, Refaq in Arabic (رفاق) means “friends”. It’s a whole symbol in itself: “We truly have become friends,” says Aren Dolma, the Tibetan singer of the collective. “we speak six different languages in the group, which doesn’t make communication any easier, but we understand each other through the music, and that has created a real friendship”.
Musically too, the group has matured, grown and been enriched by some new members Tammam Al Ramadan, who plays the ney, is very glad: “Shahab Azinmehr joins us with his lutes and his voice, bringing something of the rich Iranian tradition into the group. The Turkish cellist Damla Aydin not only masters ottoman music, she also provides rhythmic accompaniment and enriches the melodies”.
- Aren Dolma (vocals) (Tibet-BE)
- Damla Aydın (cello) (TUR – BE)
- Fakher Madallal (vocals, percussion) (Syria-BE)
- Mohammad Aman Yusufi (dambura, vocals) (Afghanistan-BE)
- Shahab Azinmehr (tar & setar) (Iran – BE)
- Simon Leleux (percussion) (BE)
- Tammam Al Ramadan (ney) (Syria-BE)
- Tareq Alsayed Yahya (ûd) (Syria-BE)