Skip to main content
Mideast & North Africa


The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians play for the World Live from London’s Royal Festival Hall on YouTube

Music is a universal language that unites people around the world.  It reminds us of who we are, where we come from, and the moments that matter the most.

On Friday, the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, which features former and current members of the Syrian National Orchestra, took the stage at London’s Royal Festival Hall for a special performance that was live streamed globally on YouTube. from 7:30pm BST (11:30am PT) at As a result of the ongoing conflict, many Syrian musicians, including the orchestra’s conductor Issam Rafea, have been forced to leave their homes. This performance saw musicians who previously worked with Damon Albarn on the Gorillaz track “White Flag,” travelling from both inside and outside Syria to reunite for an orchestral performance of Arabic music with Albarn and other guest performers -  including Bashy, Bassekou Kouyaté, Bu Kolthoum, Eslam Jawaad, Faia Younan, Julia Holter, Malikah, Mounir Troudi, Noura Mint Seymali, Paul Weller, Rachid Taha, and Seckou Keita - to highlight and celebrate the remarkable music culture of Syria.

Video of an orchestra playing music

Communities around the globe came together to host viewings of the performance, including at the YouTube Space in New York and Berlin; at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts Brussels; and in homes and cultural centres around the world. The livestream was also hosted by music artist Faia Younan alongside FlyWithHaifa.

Catch the event at