Ziad Khawam spielt ein in Deutschland unbekanntes Instrument. Was macht der Syrer in seiner neuen Heimat Hamburg damit? Ziad Khawam plays an instrument unknown to Germany. What’s the musician doing to bring a little bit of Syria to Hamburg? “Musicians have it tough, so they ... /... have to be friendlier than everyone else.”/Ziad Khawam was born in Aleppo. He’s the middle of nine siblings./He’s always loved music, so his father sent him to an Arabic music school at the age of ten./“How do you play that?”/His music instructor shows him the Kanun./The Kanun is an oriental zither. It’s the instrument used in the Arabic improvisational arts./The Kanun player leads the orchestra, thereby enjoying great esteem. With his right hand, Ziad plucks the base melody./His left hand takes care of the ornamentation. Metal picks are attached to his pointers like thimbles. The Kanun has 78 strings—three per note./The small metal levers can be switched mid-play, producing microintervals./The 78 lathed screws allow Ziad to tune the strings./Playing the Kanun isn’t merely a passion for Ziad. It’s his profession. He worked as a music instructor and played concerts in Syria and other Arabic countries./What does the war in Syria mean for the country’s musical tradition?/“I earned 800 € from my last performance.”/When bombs drop, no one can make music any longer./“Women without headscarves ... /... and musicians face issues from ISIS.”/Even radical Islamists are destroying music culture in Syria. For them music is a work of the devil./Ziad plays Kanun every day in Hamburg. But he’s unable to work as a musician. Ziad is trying to network, searching for contact to other musicians. He wants to start a band and hopes to work as a musician again./”Hello! It’s really raining a lot today.”/“Hi Ziad! Yeah, pretty wet outside.”/“One, two, three, yalla!”/The jazz professor at the Hamburg College of Music started the “Welcome Music Session”. There music students jam with refugee musicians. The students know that Syrian musicians like Ziad are like a library./Ziad gets to know one of the music students closer./“Let Ziad do the intro!”/“Where’s the one?”/“Like this?”/“Okay, three, four!”/His name is Rami Olsen. The two different tonal systems, the Arabic maqam and the European diatonic, are hard to combine. Arabic musicians use quarter notes and European musicians use half notes—larger distances between notes, in other words./“They’re like two languages, two identities.”/“A piano can’t play a quarter note.”/Rami and Ziad perform with their band from the “Welcome Music Session” in other parts of Hamburg ... /... in refugee shelters, at the Hansa- or Ernst-Deutsch-Theatre./“You’re a great theoretician.”/“But an even better performer!”/Ziad was even allowed to conduct a workshop for Arabic music at the Hamburg College of Music./Rami organises concerts with Syrian musicians at the Elbphilharmonie./“You work there now?”/“Can’t you do something?”/Rami believes Ziad’s earned the opportunity to play in front of a large audience. He wants to help him.