Poetry, Music, Film Words and Music, Here and There

 L to R: Ulla Lenze / Zeina Issa / James L Brown / Atif Badria / Sako Dermenjian © Julien Menand / Zeina Issa / James L Brown / Atif Badria / Sako Dermenjian

Thu, 06.04.2017

Goethe-Institut Sydney

90 Ocean Street
2025 Woollahra (Sydney)

An Evening of Words, Sounds and Images

Ulla Lenze is an award-winning, Berlin-based writer who studied music and philosophy in Cologne, Germany. In 2004, she participated in a German-Arabic literature project called Midad, for which she lived in Damascus and wrote about her experiences. Later she was a writer-in-residence in Istanbul, Mumbai and Venice. In 2016, she traveled to North Africa, Iran and Iraq. Her latest novel, 'The Endless City' ('Die endlose Stadt'), was published in 2015.

Sako Dermenjian is a highly skilled classical guitarist of Armenian heritage who was born and raised in Syria. For nine years, he studied in Damascus with renowned teacher Mazen Al-Saleh. When the war broke out he left Syria at the age of 17, and relocated to Australia. While he is mainly a classical guitar player, Sako Dermenjian also enjoys playing Middle Eastern, jazz, blues and flamenco music.

Atif Badria is an extraordinary Syrian-born musician playing the Darbuka, an original Middle Eastern percussion instrument with a single membrane and a goblet-shaped body. Atif started drumming on everything he could find from the age of four. At the age of 15 he started working as a full-time professional musician. Since then he has been playing with many artists in Syria and Australia. Atif also teaches weekly Darbuka drumming classes at the Redfern Community Centre.

Zeina Issa is an Australian-Lebanese poet, translator, and writer for Arabic newspaper El-Telegraph. She is also the editor of her own Poem and Dish blog and the founder of MACAM group, an organisation which promotes Arabic music in Australia. Accompanied by Syrian guitarist Sako Dermenjian,  she will recite three poems: Ghayath Almadhoun’s 'For Damascus' which she translated into English, Luke Fisher’s poem 'Syrian Desert' and her own work 'The Detention Centre'.

James L Brown is a Sydney-based cinematographer and video journalist. His award-winning work is found in commercials, feature and documentary films and music videos. Last year, frustrated with the state of the refugee debate in Australia, Brown travelled to Jordan to document the stories of the Syrian refugees he met in the Zaatari and Azrak refugee camps. His short film ‘Damask Rose’ is a product of that endeavour: the film is a portrait of loss, hope and the longing for a place in the world; for a homeland. The featured song is an improvised piece performed by refugees for Brown one afternoon in Zaatari. The film was put together specifically for the ‘Goethe-Institut Damascus in Exile’ program by Brown and Bill Irving.

Donna Abboud is a Damascus-born graphic designer and author who now lives in Germany. During her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig, from 2009 until 2011, Dona Abboud primarily used Facebook to keep in touch with her family and friends in Syria. Her book project “Out of Syria. Inside Facebook” is the result of this online communication. It introduces eleven Syrians with almost 2,000 pictures taken from their Facebook accounts, in addition to interviews and short biographies. The book is trilingual: German, English and Arabic.