Syrian Awareness Week: Raising Knowledge and Money

Last month Penn for Syrian Refugees and Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture organized “Syria Awareness Week” on Penn’s campus (Sept 23-27) — and I, in my dual role as a board member for PSR and Al-Bustan staff member, took a big part in organizing it. Our goal, which we conceived last spring before the many changes…

"Be kind": A weekend with the Narcicyst

When I first heard that Al-Bustan was bringing a hip-hop artist to Philadelphia, I was intrigued. I read about the influence that hip-hop music had in the Middle East during the Arab Spring and, even though I didn’t understand much of what was being said, I liked listening to these tracks and trying to feel…

Transcending Time, Space, and Music

The Revitalization of Memories through the Music of Romani-Balkan Clarinet Virtuoso, Hüsnü Şenlendirici Years ago, when I was only the naive age of ten, my uncle Hakan handed me a cassette tape upon returning from Turkey. I knew little about the band, Laço Tayfa, and even less about Turkish music at the time; as I…