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NPR Arts & Life

A Story Of Crisis And Resilience, Told Through Music

Barakat Ali is a Yazidi refugee and musician who has contributed to the recording project Music in Exile.
Barakat Ali is a Yazidi refugee and musician who has contributed to the recording project Music in Exile.

Music in Exile is a recording project that collects songs and stories from people displaced by humanitarian crisis. Alex Ebsary, a member of the Music in Exile team, explains that its mandate is straightforward: "What we do is go around, either to refugee camps or to places that we know there will be refugees or internally displaced Iraqis, and try to find musicians," he says. "They can be anyone, from somebody who knows how to sing a few songs to professionals."

One of the musicians featured in the project is Barakat Ali, a Yazidi man who fled from ISIS attacks on his home of Khana Sor. He says the past few years have changed the way he approaches music.

"Sometimes, I feel very sad about what happened to Yazidis," he says. "So I'm just playing this music and singing to forget myself, to not be so worried and cry about these things. And sometimes I'm crying while singing."

Ebsary and Ali shared these and other stories with NPR's Rachel Martin; hear the full interview at the audio link.

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