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Damascene folk singing, a simple tune for different purposes

Folk singing is part of the oral history that documents the social life in every society and presents its traditions and customs. An example of this kind of singing is the Damascene folk singing that highlights the Damascenes’ traditions and customs.

According to Syrian music researcher Ahmed Boubes, folk songs have expressed many aspects of Damascene social life and traditions that were linked to each other but were varied according to the purposes and occasions. These songs were distinguished by the simplicity of melody and words, which made it easy for people to remember, especially for Damascene women who used to perform such songs at evenings, picnics and social events.

Boubes said that all the Damascene songs came in the form of the Taqtuqa (a standard 3-4 minute Arabic song with multiple verses and a repeating chorus) and one musical Maqam (oriental tune). Most of the time, singing is accompanied by playing the oud and tambourine, and darbuka.

Engagement and wedding occasions in Damascus have special traditions as far as singing is concerned.

Syrian film “The first Day “ wins two Awards at Prague International Monthly Film Festival 2020

The Syrian film “The First Day” by young director Lotus Massoud won the Best Short Film and Best Direction Awards at the Prague International Monthly  Film Festival ( PIMFF).

 "The First Day”, is the only Arab film that won awards at the PIMFF . It was produced by the Syrian General Establishment of  Cinema   within the framework  of  supporting  youth cinema projects .

The film talks about  the day the terrorist bombs stopped falling on Damascus on May 22, 2018, following the purification of the Damascus countryside from  terrorists.It also   sheds light on the Syrian people’s daily fear and suffering  for several years due to these bombs which targeted a number of innocent civilians. 

Joy and Happiness on the International Friendship Day

"My friend supports me in time of need, we spend our time together, play and dream of a bright future" is one of the phrases shared by children on the International Friendship Day  on July 30th- an event that was implemented by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent volunteers.

The event included entertainment activities, competitions and sharing positive messages between the children. At the end of the activity, supported by UNHCR, the participants painted and decorated pieces of pottery to provide them as gifts to their best friends.

Lama Razzouq   

Constructed in 1943 “Cinema Dimashq”, was the largest movie theater in Mediterranean

In 1908, the first film ever screened in Syria was shown at a cafe in Aleppo. Eight years later, the Ottoman administration established the first film theater, in Damascus. The theater was inaugurated by the Ottoman governor, Jamal Pasha; however, it was burned down one month later. The French assumed mandate over Syria at that time, and many theaters were subsequently built in Damascus. The first Syrian film was Al Muttaham al Baree (The Innocent Suspect), a silent black-and-white feature released in 1928. The film was written, directed and produced by Rasheed Jalal, in association with Ahmed Tello. The crew set another precedent by forming the first Syrian production company: Hermon Film. In 1934, the second silent black-and-white film, Tahta Sama' Dimashq (Under the Damascus Sky), was released, coinciding with the Egyptian musical talkie ( a term used to diferanciate between silent movies and spoken ones), Unshudat al Fuad (Hymn of the Heart). In 1943 the 1,500 seat Cinema Dimashq, one of the largest movie theaters ever constructed in the Eastern Mediterranean, opened in Damascus.

The Youth and Short Film Festival defies war and the Coronavirus

The Youth Cinema and Short Films Festival will kick off today (June 25) at Dar Al-Assad for Culture and Arts, and 23 short films which were produced by a grant given by the Youth Cinema Support Project, will be shown.