Sari Alesh stands outside his home in James Bay, where he recorded himself playing Amazing Grace as a tribute to the nearly two dozen lives lost in the mass shooting in Nova Scotia. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

VIDEO: Victoria violinist from Syria hopes to ‘heal’ Nova Scotia with musical tribute

Sari Alesh says music is the only solution when it comes to violence

A Victoria musician, who immigrated here from Syria, has recorded a powerful video tribute for the families and friends of the nearly two dozen victims in the Nova Scotia mass shooting.

Sari Alesh played with the Symphony Orchestra in Syria for six years before the war took over. He says when he first heard the news of the killings he was shocked, he didn’t expect something so heinous to happen in Canada.

Alesh, who’s been in Canada for four years now, says he hopes the music can help “heal” the community and spread hope in the weeks following the deadly attack.

READ ALSO: Syrian violinist plays with new Canadian band at upcoming fundraiser

“I always think that music is the only solution to deal with violence. I know it’s very hard, nothing really can help but it could heal some with time,” he said.

In Syria, Alesh stopped playing music for about four or five years when the war broke out.

READ ALSO: Syrian musician adapting to life in Canada

“I don’t know exactly what happened, but I wasn’t able to play,” he said, adding that no one told him to stop, he just didn’t feel comfortable. “But here, I feel safe.”

Alesh says he was shocked by news of the Nova Scotia shooting because Canada is one of the “best countries in the world.”

With some time on his hands due to the pandemic, Alesh thought he could do something small to show his support for his new home. He recorded a video in his James Bay apartment of him playing Amazing Grace, layered with images of Novia Scotia.

Alesh first heard Amazing Grace from his late “Canadian grandma” Freeda Good, who helped teach him English when he would visit her in a care home.

“I’m not very familiar with English songs, and she loved these songs. And this is why I chose this one,” he said, hoping to spread that love to those who see the video.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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