The Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music will be led by conductor Issam Rafea, they first played with Blur's Damon Albarn at the Damascus Opera House in 2008. Albarn later worked with Rafea and the Orchestra when they appeared on the Gorillaz track 'White Flag'. The Orchestra, together with Rafea, later joined Gorillaz on their 2010 'Escape to Plastic Beach' World Tour, which also saw them previously perform at Roskilde and Glastonbury Festival.
As a result of the on-going conflict in Syria, many musicians in the country – including Issam Rafea and other members of the Orchestra – have been forced to leave the country. This special concert will see Orchestra musicians who previously worked with Albarn, travelling from both inside and outside Syria, to reunite for an orchestral performance alongside Albarn and other guest performers. The event will highlight and celebrate the remarkable music culture of Syria, providing a more positive perspective than events currently seen in the news.
Damon Albarn is no stranger to Roskilde Festival either, having played the festival for the first time in 1992 with Blur, he has since played a solo show, performed with Gorillaz and, and a 5-hour marathon set last year with Africa Express. This concert with The Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music will be his 8th time playing Roskilde Festival.
"This will be an extraordinary, fun, moving and unpredictable opening show. To open our Orange Stage with a Syrian national orchestra together with a large group of Western musicians is a way for us to show how music and culture can make people come together and overcome borders and conflicts.
"Currently, several European countries have shut their borders, and many people view refugees as a burden. Through music we’re trying to show how people can be regarded as resources and offer something to the new communities they are now part of. Additionally, it’s very important for us to show and highlight the proud Syrian cultural history that is currently being demolished by the country’s civil war."
The Orange Stage concert will be on Wednesday 29th June 2016. The concert is presented by Africa Express.
They join a line-up that includes Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wiz Khalifa, New Order, Foals, P J Harvey, Bring Me The Horizon, Action Bronson, Tenacious D, LCD Soundsystem, Tame Impala, Chvrches, Savages, MØ, Floating Points, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Protomartyr, Destroyer, Ghost, Kvelertak, S!vas, Birdy Nam Nam, DJ Paypal, First Hate, Gaye Su Akyol, Klub 27, The Minds of 99, Palace Winter, Recondite, Tal National, Blaue Blume, Mac Demarco, Sleep, Skepta, Courtney Barnett, Sleaford Mods, Vince Staples, Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra, Aurora, Bisse, Blick Bassy, Cate Le Bon, Dusky, Hayden James, Pat Thomas, Odesza, Tsjuder, Twitching Tongue, Cattle Decapitation, Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld, Ho99o9, Kuedo, Qwanqwa, and Sturgill Simpson, with many more acts to be announced in the coming months.
Roskilde is continental Europe's biggest festival, and offers a variety of international acts and four days of music from Saturday 25th June until Saturday 2nd July 2016.
Tickets are priced at a DKK 1998 (+ fee) (that's approximately £188), and a one-day tickets is DKK 995 (+ fee) (that's approximately £94). Tickets regularly sell out each year.
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