“ASSI – A story of a Syrian river”
This is the title of the first album of Salah Ammo and Peter Gabis, whose musical work is dealing with the ongoing events in Syrian and their consequences on the Syrian people. It is based on their strong belief that music is not only a way of entertainment, but much more an act and style of life, an attitude and a way of expression and reflection of people’s values and thoughts.
Certainly, a single song or an album is not enough to narrate the Syrian disaster and its tragic chapters of diaspora, subjugation and death. On the other hand, what can a Syrian musician provide to confront it, while he does not have anything other than his voice and music, and the stories he lived with all his feelings? With this tragedy, music turns to be the home, the refuge and the language, which hopefully brings together the Syrian people that have been separated by politics, conflict and injustice.
The album’s title “Assi” is the name of a river in Syria (the Orontes river) and means “the disobeyed” since it is the only river in the Levant that flows from South to North. In the song “Assi – A Story of Syrian River”, a dialogue takes place between Assi and the singer, during which they exchange thoughts about the Syrian tragedy and the world’s betrayal of the Syrian people and their humanitarian ordeal. The story of “Assi” stands metaphorically for the stories of millions of Syrians. The river used to be a vibrant source of energy for the waterwheels (Nuayir) of the city Hama (one of the famous sights in Syria). This river however recently became known as the river into which the body of a Syrian singer was thrown after the removal of his larynx, because he sang for the Syrian revolution.
Besides “Assi”, the album features six other songs in Arabic and Kurdish. The album contains a booklet that presents each song in Kurdish, Arabic, English and German.