How the Iraq Uprising Inspired Singer Yasamin
Three months before the start of Iraq’s October protests last year, almost 10,000 miles away in Auckland, “artivist” Yasamin began binge-watching an Iraqi YouTube political satire show. It would open her eyes to a country she’d lost all touch with. London-based online news outlet Middle East Eye reports on the singer’s “ode to home”.
Fast forward to this summer when the singer songwriter’s latest release – a track from her new album about the country – had 90,000 views in the first week.
Her melancholic vocals on her first song from the album, the haunting ballad ‘October’, is dedicated to all the Iraqis who died during the first month of protests. She titled the album Songs Over Baghdad (a play on hip-hop duo Outkast’s Bombs Over Baghdad), because she wanted “Iraqis to tell Iraq’s story” and “wipe away that violent image of bombs over Baghdad”.
Songs Over Baghdad, which is out on Spotify on 19 November, honours both Iraq and New Zealand, and through her songs she says she can share “what it is like to be from both countries and not fully belong to either”.
Yasamin Al-Tiay graduated from the Nelson School of Music in 2017.
Original article by Mohamed Hassan and Indlieb Farazi Saber, Middle East Eye, September 7, 2020.
Photo by Harper & Willow.