Syrian-Kurdish singer’s songs echo with longing for lost home

Hevi Murad

By Hiwa Salih
ERBIL, Kurdistan (Rudaw)- There is a palpable sadness in Hevi Murad’s voice that is difficult to miss. It is as if grief has found a way to express itself through a mix of words and music.

“I started singing five years ago, almost exactly the same time as the war broke out in my own home country,” says Hevi, who is originally from Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) but lives the life of an exile in Germany.

“I think I wanted to say that Kurdish women, like other women in the world, use music as a way of expressing both sorrow and joy,” she says.

Sadly, violence and war have gripped her beloved Kurdistan in Syria, and reverberates dramatically in her slow and melancholic songs.

“I find myself much more comfortable with slow music than anything else and I think I will continue with that even in the future,” she says.

She wrote a song about the ill-fated Iranian-Kurdish woman Farinaz Khosrawani, who died under shadowy circumstances in a hotel room in Iran last year, allegedly while fleeing a sexual assault.

“Her death shook us all. She chose to die with honor rather than surrendering herself to her tormentor,” Hevi says. “I could only dedicate this song to her.”

Song: Welate min (My homeland)

The role of Kurdish in the fight against jihadi groups in Syria has been highlighted in the international media, as dedicated combatants largely supported by their families.

Hevi, however, has found solid support for her music among her own extended family, who have encouraged her to continue, despite the conservative values dominating the Kurdish patriarchal society.

“Many people have been very supportive, but I think my father and my husband have been with me all the way,” she says, praising her husband for his care and support.