Back in March this year, Learn Music Guide brought you a report about an opera documenting the war in Iraq! The opera, named Fallujah, was based on true stories told by Christian Ellis who had experienced the Iraq war first hand. The opera was composed using inspiration from songs listened to by Christian, during his time in Iraq.
Similarly, musician Nadin Al Khadi, who was born in Iraq, is now recounting her experiences of the Iraq war through music. Nadin is the front woman of Tarraband, loosely translating as “ecstasy in music”. Born in 1980, Nadin has been no stranger to war. Her songs reflect a life time of struggling to find normality in a period racked with unrest, economic sanctions and deprivation.
Nadin herself witnessed death on the street, right outside her front door, queued for bread and water, relocated to Egypt in search of treatment for her ailing mother and then returned to an even more chaotic Iraq. Yet in this time, Nadine states that the one thing which kept her going was music. Listening to largely western bands, Nadin was a fan of the Beatles, Abba and Sinitta. She suggests her obsession came from the escapism and the liberation that seemed so far from her own life.
After eventually escaping to Sweden, Nadin played gigs in the local pubs before drawing on her Arabic roots to form Tarraband. Her songs are based on the dramatic experiences she encountered. And now her inspiration has never been more relevant as she watches many refugees arriving into Sweden from the same war stricken countries.
She says that the new arrivals remind her of what she fled from and how it feels to be a stranger in a new land. She also suggests that music has the power to remove national identity and that nobody cares where you are from, she says “We don’t think, ‘You are an Arab or a Swede’ – we just play and it sounds great.”
If you are feeling inspired, check out the best online music lessons below: