HARTFORD, Conn., April 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — His home in Mosul was raided and his instruments destroyed as part of a crackdown on all music and art. ISIS threatened to slice his fingers to bleed out the “demon” that was making him play and compose music. None of this stopped Iraqi musician Ameen Mokdad from composing and recording. Nothing stopped him from performing a concert atop ruins as shells exploded nearby him. Nothing stopped him from becoming the “violinist who defied Islamic State” – a term coined by Reuters in 2017. After an arduous 5-year visa battle, he has come to the US to continue work with the Connecticut organization Cuatro Puntos.
Before ISIS fighters discovered Mokdad and sent him on the run late in 2016, he managed to stay under their radar for nearly two years. Unbeknownst to them, he was composing a vast repertoire of music that would amplify their story of inhumane brutality.
In 2017 Iraqi forces liberated Mosul from the grips of ISIS. Mokdad played his violin as he marched across the bridge that previously marked the boundary of the occupying forces. He performed amid the ruins of the city, even as he was personally targeted by ISIS airstrikes.
In 2017, Mokdad traveled out of Iraq for the first time for a festival in Turkey. His roommate was Connecticut resident Kevin Bishop. Bishop is director of Cuatro Puntos, an organization with the mission of uplifting musicians who have been silenced, persecuted, or underrepresented. Mokdad and Bishop quickly became friends and resolved to work together to tell the story of Mosul. An album of Mokdad’s music, sponsored by Cuatro Puntos and published on Arkadash Records, went on to catapult both Cuatro Puntos Ensemble and Ameen Mokdad into the top 7% of most listened to artists on Spotify by 2022.
Shortly after meeting in 2017, Bishop also resolved to bring Mokdad to Connecticut, in person, to share his story. They began an arduous 5-year visa battle. In the fall of 2021, they partnered with Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet to embody the musical story with choreography by Elisa Schroth. In 2022 the New London Community Orchestra came onboard to prepare a full orchestra version of The Curve.
Ameen Mokdad’s The Curve tour will consist of 10 public concerts in 6 cities in May-June. Tickets are at CuatroPuntos.org or EkklesiaBallet.org
SOURCE Cuatro Puntos
Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/iraqi-musician-famous-as-the-violinist-who-defied-islamic-state-makes-first-us-appearance-in-connecticut-301800921.html
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