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by paddonm
posted 28/06/2017

Refugees and Sirens: Women in Harmony


The Powerhouse Youth Theatre in Fairfield is packed with a few men, lots of children and hundreds of women They are gathered for a performance by Women in Harmony, a group of refugee women, who have been writing, singing and rehearsing music with members of the Sirens Big Band. Women in Harmony range in age from their twenties to their eighties and have come to Australia from many different countries, though most of them speak arabic. In this fifteen minute documentary we hear from some of the women while they are rehearsing for the performance. We also hear them singing and playing at the concert, accompanied by a septet from the Sirens. The groups signature piece, based on traditional Arabic Andalusian melody, allows each of the group to introduce herself and explain the meaning of her name producing a huge response from the women in the audience. Most of the songs are well known to Australian ears but something has been added to all of them with new verses written by the group, or sections sung in arabic. A closing voice likens coming to Australia to being released from a cage. Women in Harmony was first aired on Eastside Radio’s Thursday Drive on 29th June 2017 and is available on the Eastside website as a podcast. It was produced and is narrated by Mick Paddon

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