Jordanian singer visits Oskaloosa on Midwest tour

Farah Siraj has traveled the world. Her next stop? Oskaloosa. Photo: Yasmina Barber

The Jordanian singer Farah Siraj has performed for the United Nations, at Lincoln Center in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, and on MTV.

This week, she’ll add Oskaloosa to the list. She is leading music workshops with local students, preparing them to sing a few songs in English and Arabic at a concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at the George Daily Community Auditorium. Siraj will perform, too, with her band – on guitar, percussion and oud, a pear-shaped, lute-like instrument from the Middle East.

Their trip to Iowa is the first of a three-state World Fest tour funded by the nonprofit Arts Midwest.
It’s the latest in a career full of goodwill projects that started when she was in college in Boston and wrote a song to support Sudanese refugees who fled the civil war that erupted in Darfur in 2003. The song took on a life of its own, including a performance before the U.N. Security Council and by peacekeepers at a refugee camp, where folks “felt like they weren’t alone,” Siraj said.

“Music is a very powerful tool,” she added. “I always use it for peace rather than for any political agendas or anything. As musicians, that’s part of our role.”

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