Cats (and Music) of Syria

One of the ways to empathize with a place, and by extension its people, is through the things that touch you strongly. So we at CatSynth present images of cats and traditional music from Syria.

[Photo by Arbo Moosberg on Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)]

The picture above is from Aleppo. Apparently a woman off-frame is feeding them. The next cats are enjoying quite the view of Damascus while having dinner.

[Photo by delayed gratification on Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)]

These young cats in a garden in Damascus seem quite healthy and contented in their verdant surroundings.

4899026524_f506b40859[Photo by Jose Luis Canales from Flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)]

Back in Aleppo, we meet a cat named Lulu playing outside.
[Photo by Ali Qasmo from Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)]

The photographer of the above image, Ali Qasmo, is from Syria – the others were taken by various visitors. Indeed, he has taken quite a few pictures of local cats, which you can see on his Flickr page.

[Photo by Ali Qasmo from Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)]

Cats do have to cope with the effects of the civil war there, just as humans do. Here we see a cat sitting amongst debris in the city of Homs:

[Photo from Freedom House on Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)]

Syria (like many countries in the region) teems with cats. But it also has a rich tradition of music. String instruments are particularly prominent in traditional music, including the bazuq:

[Photo by xlynx on Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)]

The above photo comes with a story of the chance encounter between the photographer and the musician, which ultimately included a bit of improvisation together. Here is a video of the musician playing solo:

Channeling my inner music-geek for moment, I found myself looking in detail at the arrangement from frets, which are not monotonically decreasing in distance towards the body as they would on modern Western fretted instruments.

This photo of a traditional musician was taken in the town of Palmyra:

[Photo by James Gordon from Flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)]

If anyone knows the name of the instrument in the picture, I would be curious to know, as it reminds me a bit of the Indian ektar that I sometimes play.

And we conclude with an image of a cat and kitten together at the Der Mar Musa monastery in western Syria (near Lebanon):

[Photo by Stijn Nieuwendijk from Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)]