Four Syrian cousins on P.E.I. bring Arabic music to Island
'We just really get nice reactions and nice compliments'
A group of four Syrian cousins now living on P.E.I. are giving Canadians a taste of their culture through music.
Rami Al Mayaleh and his sister Anna arrived in Charlottetown about a year ago. Hani Mayaleh's family left Syria six years ago. Mounzer Mayaleh has been on the Island the longest, arriving 11 years ago.
The four P.E.I. cousins all play instruments, and recently decided to form their own band.
"It goes great. We get pretty excited reactions," said Hani.
He said the band plays a special song that has become their theme song, called Nassam Alayna el Hawa.
He said the title loosely translates into "The wind that blows over us," and the song is one that many immigrants around the world enjoy and identify with.
"It pretty much bonds our family together from a long time ago, and we just keep playing it every occasion we have."
'It was unbelievably scary and different from here'
The music also keeps the cousins connected to their Syrian roots.
Anna said she had mixed emotions about coming to Canada.
"I was of course both happy and sad. Happy to see our uncles here and begin a new life, but of course we miss our family there and friends," she said.
"It was pretty frightening, to be scared about people around you, and about people you know, but we hope it gets better."
Mounzer often speaks to his relatives on Skype, and decided to accompany his father back to Syria two months ago.
"It was unbelievably scary and different from here. You can't risk going outside and hanging out. There's bombs around you all the time," he said.
The band will be playing A Taste of Syria fundraiser on Saturday in Kensington, P.E.I.
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