Jordanian musical virtuoso, Farah Siraj, performs at Berea College

Jordanian musical virtuoso, Farah Siraj, performs at Berea College

BEREA, Ky. – Widely known as Jordan’s “Musical Ambassadress,” Farah Siraj will be performing for Fall 2023’s Stephenson Memorial Concert series on Thursday, September 14.

Siraj started singing as early as three years old. “I used to perform to my mother and grandmother in the living room,” admits Siraj. “Music chose me, I did not choose music.”

Influenced by a versatile group of artists such as Tracy Chapman, Omar Diab and Paco de Lucia, Siraj performs original compositions and combines Arabic, Spanish and English to create her unique voice.

“Some things come to me in English, while others come in Spanish and Arabic. I never have to force it,” Siraj said. There is no one word to describe Siraj’s music. It is a fusion of Middle Eastern music, flamenco, jazz, Bossa nova and pop.

From the United States to Europe and Southwest Asia, Siraj has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious venues, such as the United Nations, Nobel Prize Hall, World Economic Forum, The John F. Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, MTV and Coke Studio. Moreover, she annually represents Jordan on United Nations World Peace Day. She was chosen as one of New York’s “Summer Stars of Jazz” and named “the Norah Jones of the Middle East” by New York Time Out.

Starting in 2008, Siraj had released three albums with Dunya (meaning, “world” in Arabic and Hindi), and her latest album was released in 2014. Some of her performances have hit No. 1 on music charts in India and No. 3 in Southwest Asia.

Siraj’s values parallel Berea College’s mission. She uses her music to spread the message of peace, unity and community. She has raised awareness about the consequences of war and violence (such as the occupation of Palestine, Beirut’s port explosion and the genocide in Darfur) and advocates for women’s rights, refugee rights and animal rights. Not only an artist but also a humanitarian, Siraj was invited to perform at the United Nations Humanitarian Awards where her music was played.

This is Siraj’s second visit to Berea College. “I am looking forward to being back in Berea,” she said. “My first time on campus is one experience I distinctly remember. The connection I had with the students was memorable.”

The performance begins at 8 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel.