When the war in Syria left Adel Othman with a spinal cord injury, he found refuge in music — especially a stringed instrument called the tambour.

But the Syrian government didn't even allow people to sing in Kurdish, Othman's native language.

"I didn't have freedom in my country, so I chose to go to Lebanon and continue my life over there, helping kids who came from war, to make them happy [with] music."

Othman, who came to Canada four years ago, continues to use his music to help others — he is performing at noon on Dec. 7 at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre at Vancouver General Hospital to raise money for ISS of BC, which is assisting in the settlement of Syrian refugees coming to Vancouver.

Othman, 33, performs traditional songs and original compositions, singing in both Arabic and Kurdish, and often expressing his hope for peace after the war.

'Canada is a great country'

He said he is very concerned for his family. He has seven brothers and two sisters who have been spread around the world in their search for safer places to raise their families.

He said he "loves to volunteer," and regularly helps out at ICORD, a health research centre at VGH that is focused on spinal cord injury.

He added that it is important for him to help ISS of BC raise money to bring refugees to Canada.

"Canada is a great country, and people are very kind here, helping each other, and they don't care about the colour [of people's skin] or the origins," he said.

"So I'm pretty sure they will help each other, and they will help us, they will help Syrian people to find job or to make place for them."


To listen to the full audio, click the link labelled: Playing Syrian music to raise money for refugees.
With files from Jessica Linzey