For centuries, it was a magnet for artists across the region and churned out Iraq’s best musicians — but recent years saw Mosul suffer a devastating musical purge. For three years until last summer, the sprawling northern city was under the brutal rule of the Islamic State group. In imposing a city-wide ban on playing or even listening to music, the jihadists smashed and torched instruments. “It was impossible to bring my instrument with me whenever I left the house,” said city resident Fadel al-Badri, who hid his precious violin from the rampaging fighters. Foreshadowing IS’ repression, the 2000s saw Al-Qaeda and other groups impose an ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam in several districts of the city. But with Mosul freed from the grip of IS in July 2017, Iraq’s second city is embarking on a musical comeback. “After the liberation, songs are back where they truly belong in Mosul,” said Badri, welcoming the return of evening celebrations and festivals. The 45-year old violinist now has the pleasure of playing in public once more to an audience that claps hands and sings along to traditional local tunes. – After IS, ‘we sing’ – Mosul has a rich musical history. It is… Read full this story
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