Skip to main content

Closing of ‘Bridges’ Intercultural Event Series

11 October 2016

The International Dialogue Centre’s (KAICIID) month-long intercultural event series ‘Bridges’ ended with a brilliant performance by the ensemble ‘Ruh’ led by Syrian composer and Oud-virtuoso Orwa Saleh.  The event series consisted of photo and art exhibitions, concerts and readings, all designed to demonstrate how migrant communities in Europe enrich and diversify host societies through interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

On Tuesday, the event series ‘Bridges’ ended with a performance by the musical ensemble Ruh, combining the traditional Oriental and the contemporary. At KAICIID, the ensemble’s initiator Orwa Saleh performed together with the Turkish bass player, Uygar Cagli, the pianist Christoph Cech and the percussionist Gerhard Reiter, both from Austria, as well as the Syrian vocalist Basma Jabr and Syrian clarinet player Yazan Alsabagh. The programme included traditional Syrian songs in fusion with standard jazz, best described as a ‘contemporary journey through the Orient’.

The musical evening concluded with a reception. The numerous guests discussed their impressions and to engaged in dialogue.

The events throughout the Bridges series have highlighted art as a powerful tool to build bridges between Syrian and Austrian culture: the cultural month was launched with the opening of an exhibition displaying paintings by Syrian-born, Europe-based artists Adel Daooud, Bahram Hajou, Jeko Haj, Louloua Maleh and Marwa Sarah, as well as Austrian artists Fritz Kindl and Bernd Hanser.

Following the opening ceremony, the Centre also hosted a photography exhibition by Linda Zahra, a Syrian photographer based in Vienna, and a musical performance by Gilbert Yammine, of the National Higher Conservatory of Music in Beirut.

The third event featured Syrian author Luna Mousli reading from her book, “A tear. A smile. My childhood in Damascus”, a moving portrait of the now-vanished Damascus of her childhood. All events, including the closing ceremony, set examples for how art can overcome language barriers and break down prejudices.

About Ruh

Assembled by the Syrian Oud player and composer Orwa Saleh, Ruh is the spirit of the Orient combined with contemporary elements that gives Ruh a unique character and special sound. Featuring several great musicians and performing with different formations worldwide has given the music of Ruh a multifarious range and turns it into musical adventure, a magical combination and a journey into the world of words and poems.