Syria’s UNESCO-nominated musical genre presented on Expo 2020’s global stage

Syria’s UNESCO-nominated musical genre presented on Expo 2020’s global stage

DUBAI, 15 November 2021 – The distinctive sound of Qudoud Halabiya, a traditional form of singing from Aleppo, Syria, and nominated for inscription in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) Representative List for the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, was performed on a global stage as part of Syria’s Expo 2020 National Day festivities on Sunday.

Renowned Syrian singer Mouhamad Khairy performed a tribute to his late compatriot, legendary tenor Sabah Fakhri, at Expo 2020’s Jubilee Stage to an audience from around the world. Credited with reviving traditional and folkloric Arabic music, Fakhri’s voice also recently echoed from Al Wasl Plaza on 6 November, days after he passed.

إكسبو 2020 دبي يحتضن عرضا مميزا للقدود الحلبية المرشحة لقائمة اليونسكو  
DUBAI, 06 November 2021. Tribute to Sabah Fakhri, the great Syrian tenor at Al Wasl, Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Walaa Alshaer/Expo 2020 Dubai)

While Qudoud Halabiya is prevalent in many Syrian cities, Aleppo is its home. Situated along the old Silk Road, the city welcomed artists, literary figures, musicians and pillars of society from around the world, resulting in melodies that combined a vibrant mix of cultures and civilisations, passing from generation to generation.

With this musical style, lyrics of old songs are replaced with Arabic poetry, or with improvisations by the performers to serve the event or occasion, while maintaining the composition of the traditional melodies. This form of singing formed an essential part of Aleppo’s original musical nights, from religious remembrances to cheerful singing and everyday issues.

The UNESCO decision will be taken in December at the meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of the 2003 Convention on the Intangible Heritage in Paris, France, according to Khaled Shamaa, Director, Syria Pavilion, at Expo 2020 Dubai.