Sultans of Tarab celebrate Syria’s musical history in Damascus - in pictures

The ensemble is revered across the Arab world due to the authenticity of their performances

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The show may have taken place only yesterday, but the atmosphere that Syria’s Sultans of Tarab evoked in their Damascus concert harked back to an ancient time.

The revered ensemble delivered a stirring concert among the breath-taking backdrop of Damascus’s old city.

The July 27 performance followed a similarly well-attended Jordanian show two days prior, as part of the Jerash Festival.

Formed in Syria in 1990, Sultans of Tarab is comprised of 16 members (including four singers) and performs a repertoire consisting of qudud halabiya (Syrian folk songs that originated in Aleppo) and mouwachahates, a form similar to terza rima in which songs are composed of three-line stanzas.

With the ongoing conflict in Syria, many members of the group fled their homelands to seek refuge in nearby Jordan and other countries in the region.

That dislocation hindered the group from performing regularly. Speaking to the local press before their performance at Jerash Festival, bandleader Mostafa Al Sagheer, who resides in Jordan, said it took him nearly a year to organise the concert.

“We are working hard to bring these artists together,” he said. “The message we want to send is that music and heritage will continue to flourish and we are conserving them.”