White Helmets documentary crew heads to Oscars for ‘Last Men in Aleppo’

Syrians walk along a damaged street in Aleppo's Tareeq Al-Bab neighborhood on January 18, 2017, a month after government forces retook the northern Syrian city from rebel fighters. (AFP)
Updated 04 March 2018
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White Helmets documentary crew heads to Oscars for ‘Last Men in Aleppo’

CAIRO: Members of the the White Helmets are heading to the Oscars to be held on Sunday, where Syrian film ‘Last Men in Aleppo’ has been nominated in the Best Feature Documentary category.
The film documents the efforts of the Syrian White Helmets volunteer civil defense group that operates in rebel-held parts of Syria.
Described by its director Firas Fayyad as “a big shout out to justice” that lays bare the horrors of the war in his native country.
The movie describes the daily war atrocities through the eyes of volunteer rescue workers.
“We were very happy to be nominated,” Khaled Khatib, a member of the volunteer emergency response group and one of the film’s producers, told CBC News in a Skype call from Istanbul earlier this week.
A British documentary called ‘White Helmets’ aired on Netflix and scooped an Oscar last year in the Best Short Documentary category. It earned the online streaming service its first Academy Award.
Due to complications with their travel visas amid the Donald Trump travel ban, Khatib and others on the crew were barred form entering the US, and therefore would not have been able to attend.
However last-minute visas have been approved and they will attend the ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.


Ancient musical instruments get an airing in Athens

Updated 21 June 2018
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Ancient musical instruments get an airing in Athens

  • The phorminx, the kitharis, the krotala and the aulos — string and wind instruments reconstructed by musical group Lyravlos — echoed among marble statues in Athens’s National Archaeological Museum.
  • Music was an integral part of almost every aspect of ancient Greek society, from religious, to social to athletic events.

ATHENS: Hymns sung to the Greek gods thousands of years ago resonated from ancient musical instruments in Athens on Thursday, transporting a transfixed audience to antiquity.
The phorminx, the kitharis, the krotala and the aulos — string and wind instruments reconstructed by musical group Lyravlos — echoed among marble statues in Athens’s National Archaeological Museum as part of World Music Day celebrations.
A family of musicians, Lyravlos have recreated exact replicas of the ancient instruments from natural materials including animal shells, bones, hides and horns.
Music was an integral part of almost every aspect of ancient Greek society, from religious, to social to athletic events. Today only some 60 written scores of ancient Greek music have survived, said Lyravlos member Michael Stefos.
Stefos said they interpret them as best they can, relying on the accuracy of their recreated instruments.
“Joking aside, ancient CDs have never been found,” he said.
Their performance included a hymn to the god Apollo, pieces played at the musical festival of the ancient Pythian Games in Delphi and during wine-laden rituals to the god Dionysus.
Michael’s father Panayiotis Stefos, who heads the group, travels to museums at home and abroad studying ancient Greek antiquities and texts in order to recreate the instruments.
“Usually each instrument has a different sound. It is not something you can make on a computer, it will not be a carbon copy,” said Stefos.
The difference with modern day instruments?
“If someone holds it in their arms and starts playing, after a few minutes they don’t want to let it go, because it vibrates and pulsates with your body,” he said.
French tourist Helene Piaget, who watched the performance, said it was “inspiring.”
“One sees them on statues, on reliefs, and you can’t imagine what they might sound like,” she said.
World Music Day is an annual celebration that takes place on the summer solstice.