Just as FemArt started, with a Stand Up avoiding the classical opening ceremonies and long speeches, in the same way, it finished, with e beautiful musical journey, with feelings and fewer words. Farah Siraj was the special guest of this edition. She made the closing night as unique as she is, leaving people with the strong desire that Farah would come back in the next editions of FemArt. Even though Farah came alone in Kosovo, without her band, within a day she met with artists from Kosovo with whom as the public felt as they were performing together for a long time now. As Farah stated it is always easy to collaborate with great artists even if you rehearsed for a day only. Despite their short time together, we witnessed a beautiful musical journey with them starting from the Middle East, through the Europe- Spain, and the United States. Along with their music, each instrument adding a unique rhythm, the mesmerizing voice of Farah made the public fall in love with her music and feel the music from around the world on that small stage. Traditional details she used for the stage, lights, and everything else made us feel we went back in time and we were part of a beautiful musical world. In this ambient Farah brought the songs from the Middle East musical heritage in a more contemporary context so that they are more accessible to the younger generation.
Not just a great artist, more than this Farah is a humanitarian activist, she uses her music as her voice to speak to the world and send a peace message. As Farah stated, it is important for any part of the society to stand up for people’s rights. Therefore, the opening song was a very personal song for Farah. She wrote the song about the genocide in Darfur, especially for all the female refugees. The Darfur genocide began in 2003 in Western Sudan, it is known as the first genocide of the 21st century, and the genocide, mass rape of Darfuri women, men, and children, persist today. The story behind the song as Farah states showed her the power of music. The song was written for a campaign from the United States and it was played in the refugees’ camp in Darfur where female refugees were living. The song was in Arabic so they didn’t need any translation. Even for us, the public, who couldn’t understand the lyrics, we could feel the pain and the hope in her voice. Being a refugee myself, even though at a young age, I know the feeling of being forgotten by the world. The feeling of being alone and having no one there to help you. The women in the refugees’ camp felt the same when the song was played there, they went there and told that “the refugees didn’t actually know that the world outside knew what was happening to them, they got up and they danced, they sang and they started clapping”, this was a moment that really impacted Farah as a musician to see how art can impact people’s lives, especially when it comes from the soul. The song in Arabic says, “we have not forgotten your children’s rights”. Therefore, FemArt is the place for artists like Farah who brings humanism, activism, art, and feminism together. The festival is for the people who share their art and their fight for a better world with us.
In our journey with Farah we were singing with her, we shared the joy with her, some people even shared their concern about the visa issue in a joke, but Farah reminded us that despite the technical issues, art takes us in any place and time we want to be. It was a journey filled with laughter, with emotions, with love, with pain for the suffering the world is going through, but most of all a beautiful journey of hope that against every challenge, we can find strength and we can be free to feel and share the love.