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Middle Eastern performers explore the meaning of home through music

A concert on Saturday at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., will explore the meaning of home for people who have been displaced or whose families have roots outside Canada.

The event is organized by Mary Azouz, a fifth-year community music student.

“I am technically Canadian, but my background is Middle Eastern. So I’m Syrian, Lebanese, Palestinian mixed,” said Azouz.

“It’s been a little bit of a struggle connecting to [my culture] at Laurier. It is a predominantly white school, so I had to find my people.”

One of those people was Mellisa Zahrir, 18, who will also perform at Saturday’s concert.

“I’m very proud of being Algerian, I’m really proud of my parents for coming here because it was very very hard, but I was also trying to fit in with Canadian and white culture at the same time,” she said. “I was always super anxious about what other people thought of me.”

Zahrir says the song she’ll perform on Saturday, Not Strong Enoughspeaks to that.

LISTEN | Azouz and Zahrir explain how they’ve found a sense of self through song:

The Morning Edition – KW6:27Students with Middle Eastern backgrounds explore the meaning of home through music

A concert on Saturday at Wilfrid Laurier University explores the meaning of home for people who have been displaced or whose families have roots outside Canada. Over a dozen Middle Eastern musicians will perform – some in English, some in their mother tongues. CBC KW’s Jackie Sharkey met organizer Mary Azouz and performer Mellisa Zahrir to learn more.

The concert is at 7 pm at the Senate and Board Chambers at Wilfrid Laurier University. A donation of $5 is encouraged.