27 June 2023

Video: Hope through music in Iraq

The Melody singers are a group of young people from the Nineveh Plain who have discovered joy and purpose through making music and sharing the gospel – and now they’re helping other young people to do the same. 

The Melody Singers are bringing hope and joy through their music to Christian and Muslim audiences

In Isaiah 58:12, the prophet writes: “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”  

The Melody singers from Iraq are doing just that with their music. In a church square once used as a shooting range by so-called Islamic State (IS) fighters, Christians now sing for the glory of God. Where IS tried to put an end to Christian faith, Christians are singing again. They believe they have a hope and a future – and, through their music, they are helping other young people like them to believe the same.  

Melody came together during displacement. Sam, Farid and Fady were living in Erbil, after being forced to leave their homes in the Nineveh Plain by IS militants. “We began meeting there and playing,” says Sam, leader of the band. “Playing music gave us energy, we were able to feel alive again. Doing nothing in Erbil, we tried to revive ourselves through music and revive others as well.”

Breaking cultural barriers

Once they had returned home to Qaraqosh, they asked a few women to sing with them. Hiba (25) is one of the singers. “God gives a gift to every person, and this talent must be used,” she says. “In our culture, it’s problematic for a girl to sing. I joined to break this limitation and obstacle… that hovers over our lands. It is uncommon for a girl to sing. It is a barrier that is very hard to crack.”  

Hiba faced difficulties and opposition at the beginning, but she didn’t stop. “On the contrary, despite the negativities and the wrongful gossip, we said that we must go on. The most important thing is to have a purpose, to seek it and continue the journey.”  

Something else that keeps her going is how people are responding to the band’s music. “I see joy and happiness in their eyes, this makes me really happy,” she says. One of their first performances was on Mother’s Day. “We invited a lot of people to Saint Paul [an activity centre belonging to the church]. We brought joy to the audience, we felt the joy, we saw how touched and moved those mothers were.” 

Sharing faith through music

The group play for both Christian and Muslim audiences, sharing their faith through their music. Farid (27) is a singer and also plays the daf (a frame instrument). “I want to keep on presenting music that surpasses the noise of war and destruction, wanting to deliver a message to the world. Music, in general, is the biggest drive for hope in the future. Music is a language of peace, of love. It is grasped by all kinds of audiences.”

The band feel that music is giving them renewed hope to stay in the country – and they are able to encourage other young people with their message too. “This land is the land of our forefathers and the land of our children’s future,” Farid adds. “Our music [makes people] understand that we will remain in this land.” 

  • Thank God for the Melody band who are bringing back joy and hope to many people
  • That they will continue sharing a message of hope and peace to both Christian and Muslim audiences
  • For young Christians in Iraq, that they will find joy and purpose in their lives.
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