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What hope sounds like

Syrious Mission - Day 5

I am happy, I am sad, I am proud, I am humbled,

I have grown, I have matured, I have taught, I have learned,

I want more to be, I need less to have…

It was a lifetime in one week.

In the past few blogs I have done my best to give you an idea of my impressions whilst giving music workshops to refugee children in Jordan. Yesterday was the culmination of our 5-day Syrious Mission. So much happened in a very short space of time! Even though my heart is flooding with untold experiences I shall do my best to keep it short.    

In total there were 5 music ‘agents’ on this mission. The showcase at the end of our 5-day stay was an intriguing wish-wash of our different approaches to very diverse groups of children. It was fascinating to see how the various performances had a different impact on the children, at least if I may be the judge of their facial expressions. 

My group from Marka behaved extremely well. I’m still figuring out how that happened! I believe the biggest credit must go to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA), founded for the Palestinians. It offers an infrastructure of schools in poor areas. In the current situation, it is a sensible place for Syrian kids to be taken in. I was working at the Women’s Centre and I think the women there have been doing amazing work with the local youth. I say this because my rather big group of children between the age of 6 and 15 was diverse in social, cultural and previous financial background, but somehow they functioned very well as a group.

On the day of the showcase it was amazing to see the effect of our exercises and games. The Big International Competition of Silence was repeated and in the middle of the far too small hall, filled with hyperactive rascals who had never been to a concert before, it created a pool of peace and quiet. Imagine the surprise of the people around them. I was so proud! Although it was their stage debut, our vocal and straw soloists stood on stage as seasoned performers with the traditional song “Redaha” which incidentally became my first sentences in Arabic. Later additions to my still very limited Arabic vocabulary were taught to me that evening by my chanting kids, who made me repeat after them. The world upside down!

They also sang Frère Jacques in do-re-mi, performed rhythmic exercises and by means of entertainment we even acted like a 84-headed drum kit after having sung the Dutch children’s song ‘Klein Klein Kleutertje’. I could go on and on and on about how amazing they are, and yes, you should probably have been there to share my feeling of pride towards them, but I hope you get a bit of an idea through this quick edit of some moments on film: Syrious Mosaic!


All of this would not have been possible without the enormous enthusiasm of my colleagues, both local and from Europe. I particularly applaud the young, energetic and smart Tai (Abdulrhman Mohammed) whose open, forward-thinking and multilingual and mind made it possible for me to communicate in quite some depth with my new Jordan-based friends. Hasan Minawi, our star from Arab’s got talent pulled off quite a stunt by teaching a boy to play a song on the straw (!) in just under two hours. It goes without saying that the initiator of Syrious Mission, Merlijn Twaalfhoven, deserves an ovation from you behind your computers! Yes go on, clap and stand. Surprise those around you! I have seen what a smile and a public challenge can do to a large group of people. Now is a chance for you to experience it. Scary? Maybe at first, but wait until you see the result!

Syrious Mission for me is about bringing music as a gift to people in a difficult situation. It was a relatively small effort to go and give some of my energy and passion for music. I did not see it as an investment, but what I got back from it was hundreds of happy faces, new words, a new world and unforgettable memories. Music truly is a common language and we can all use it to express ourselves. Speak, sing, dance, listen, interact, surprise and play. They are basic ingredients of a better life.



I sincerely invite you all to come to Podium Mozaiek in Amsterdam on 12 December 2013 at 20:00 where I am organising a charity event together with composer and fellow Syrious Missionary Merlijn Twaalfhoven to share some of our most amazing moments. It would be a great if you can make it there! Here's a link to the event page on facebook.

If you cannot, you can make it anywhere… with a donation! I am collecting funds for my Syrious Mission. So please help me supply more musical and therefore emotional ‘aid’ to Syrian refugees in Jordan with a kind donation*.

Thank you for the music! 


TO DONATE: please transfer any amount to

Name: Brendan Walsh

IBAN: NL34 ABNA 0570 7956 72


Reference: Syrious Mission

 *For the sake of transparency: the organisation of Syrious Mission wants me to deduct the transport costs and local expenses from the total sum raised. The rest goes to future missions and for a more regular continuation of music lessons (by for example my new friend Tai) in refugee camps in Jordan. It is probably needless to say that all my work there was unpaid and part of my own contribution to this good cause.

Comments (1)

Thank you very much for sharing your one of a kind journey with others and like you mentioned, as week ends, there are so much to begin and continue.


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