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Music brings Yo-Yo Ma together with refugees / UNHCR

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To perform alongside Yo-Yo Ma, the world-famous cellist, would be a unique opportunity for most musicians – but for Syrian refugee Basma Jabr, it is an amazing turn in her life as a refugee in Austria, where she arrived in 2014 and is now building a career as a singer. "Of course I am a bit nervous," she said the morning before, during practice at the home of fellow musician Marwan Abado, who plays an oud, an Arab instrument like a lute. "I am also excited to have a new musical experience and the chance to meet other musicians."

Basma, 35, was born into a musical family in Kuwait but due to war left in 1990 for Syria, where she trained and worked as an architect. Conflict in Syria made Basma a refugee a second time. Her husband, Aysar Aisamee, made the difficult journey to Europe alone. When he got refugee status, Basma and their two young children joined him. They arrived in Austria in 2014.

Since then, Dr. Aisamee, a cardiologist, has got back into medicine and is working at a hospital in Vienna, and Basma's new career as a professional singer is starting to take off. The couple are a perfect example of how refugees can integrate successfully and contribute to society when they are welcomed. Basma now sings in clubs and theatres across Vienna and has performed in other European countries but she says things were hard at first. She knew little German but music helped make connections.

READ THE FULL UNHCR ARTICLE AND WATCH THE VIDEO