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Cultures of Conflict Concert: Kristýna Farag and Marwan Alsolaiman

17 May, 6.45–8pm

Join us in the Kettle’s Yard house for a special musical response to the themes explored in our current exhibition Issam Kourbaj: Urgent Archivewith musicians Kristýna Farag (voice, flute, daf) and Marwan Alsolaiman (oud, voice, nay).

This event has passed. £10 (£8 Friends, £5 Students), booking required

The vocal instrumental duo of Kristýna Farag and Marwan Alsolaiman will perform a special programme created in a response to Issam Kourbaj: Urgent Archive. The audience will hear a selection of songs and pieces in intimate arrangements built on the spirit of Middle Eastern elements. The concert will bear a reminder of an ever-urgent thought: we all sprout from the same seed of life, experience crises and seek catharsis.

Related event:

Attendees of Kristýna Farag and Marwan Alsolaiman’s concert are also invited to book for the Cultures of Conflict Symposium, an afternoon of responses to Issam Kourbaj: Urgent Archive

About Kristýna Farag and Marwan Alsolaiman

Kristýna Farag is a Czech flautist, singer and teacher. Born to a Slovak mother and a Syrian father, Slavic and Middle Eastern roots define her artistic explorations. As a versatile freelance musician, Farag enjoys performing classical music of all periods, with special attention to Czech contemporary music. You can also find her immersed in free improvisation or traditional Arab music. With Marwan Alsolaiman she recently published music videos as a tribute to Arab divas Asmahan and Layla Mourad. She is a co-winner of the 1st prize in the International Friedrich Kuhlau Flute Competition in Uelzen, Germany in category flute trio (2011).

Marwan Alsolaiman is a Damascus born, Prague based musician, poet and teacher. Having learned playing oud, Middle Eastern flutes – nay – and various percussion instruments, Marwan founded Ziriab, an ensemble devoted to the Middle Eastern musical tradition. He is a member of an early music ensemble Kvinterna. Marwan cooperates with several Czech bands bringing Middle Eastern elements to Czech folk scene. Marwan leads workshops and gives lectures about Arab music and instruments. He is a teacher of Czech as a foreign language and physics. As a prolific poet, he writes both in Arabic and Czech and has released two collection of poems.


Rahbani brothers: Am betdawi shams + Shatti

The sun is shining on a seeded field. It starts raining. The soil is coming back to life, becoming aware of itself and the new life.


Farid Al-Atrash: Ya bidaa al ward

The beauty and the colours of flowers and blossoms are praised in this song.


Charles Koechlin: Les Chants de Nectaire for flute solo Op.198, No.2 “Naissance de la vie”

In this short flute piece one can hear how the new life appears and the tones and motifs multiply like cells. Eventually it develops in bursts of melodies – branches. The seed becomes a beautiful plant.


Sayed Darwish: El helwa di

A song about people going to work, kneading the dough for bread is also mentioned. People work with love and patience because they feel God’s presence and guidance towards the good.


Farid Al-Atrash: Ya dirati + Syrian folk song Ya dirati

A song written for one of the divas of the Arab world, Asmahan, by her brother Farid. A very emotional sigh and expression of sadness of a person who is forced to go to the exile. Asmahan is singing “my homeland, do not blame me” (for leaving).

Marcel Khalife: Jawaz al safar

“Jawaz al safar” = “a passport”. The song deals with the theme of migration and feelings about being in a foreign land.


Marcel Khalife: Kan fi marra

Kan fi marra is about how children perceive war and how someone can abandon his homeland because of war.


Nay and flute improvisation

A contemplative intermezzo of flutes after the war catastrophe.


Zaki Nassif: Tallou hbabna

“Our beloveds are coming back.” The joy is back and also the realisation of that life is beautiful after all the pain and misfortunes.


Najib Hankash/Khalil Gibran: Aatini al nay wa ghanni

Based on one of the most famous poems of the Lebanese-American poet, writer and visual artist Khalil Gibran. The song “Give me the flute and sing” was written for the legendary Lebanese singer Fairouz. Its message is that after all the joys and sorrows, everything disappears and only the soul remains. “People are only lines written with water”.

About the Exhibition

2 March – 26 May 2024

Since 2011 Issam Kourbaj’s artwork has responded to the ongoing conflict in Syria, and reflects on the suffering of his fellow Syrians and the destruction of his cultural heritage. This exhibition presents key works from this period alongside a new series which explores themes of loss, memory and renewal.

The exhibition – the artist’s largest to date – will include installation, sculpture, performance and works on paper. Kourbaj will be present at intervals throughout the exhibition, which will evolve as he adds to the displays.

Find out more about Issam Kourbaj: Urgent Archive

Photo by Jo Underhill


Please note, for conservation and security reasons, no bags or large coats are allowed in the house. Limited bag storage is available at reception.

This event will take place in the extension of the house which is accessible, with some limitations. The upper part of the ground floor extension area is accessible for wheelchair users and the ground floor extension area of the house is newly accessible for wheelchair users with a ramp. There is no lift to the upper floors of the house. If you call in advance or ask at the information desk we can reserve an accessible seat for you. Please get in touch on 01223 748100 or email

Visit our Access page