Updated: Jun 8, 2021
Just like the great warrior, poet and activist Audre Lorde advocated, Mariela Shaker believes in sharing her personal story in order to transform silence into language and action; in this case into beautiful music, too. Despite the hardship Shaker has endured in her life, her resilience and passion continue to lead her along her inspiring path of sharing love and peace through music.
Last week, we were lucky enough to receive a special Talitha Talk from the award-winning violinist, Mariela Shaker. Mariela grew up in Aleppo, Syria, and had to watch as her home city faced long years of war and destruction. Finding her way out through the pursuit of her musical studies, she now lives in England and shares her personal story in order to inspire change and empower others to follow their dreams - no matter the circumstances.
"Follow your dream, never give up. Find your inspiration and let your heart lead the way. "
For Mariela, her passion for music and the violin began at a young age. She narrates how she would risk her life attending university and teaching at the Arabic Institution of Music - to ensure that 'music was kept alive' in Aleppo. It was her creative outlet for expressing the pain and sorrow for what was happening around her.
Mariela's story, although ultimately positive and courageous, speaks for hundreds of thousands of displaced people who may not have met the same opportunities as her. Motivated to humanise the plight of the refugee experience, Mariela demonstrates her luck at being given a 'second chance' and recognises that this is not the case for many others.
“Being a refugee myself has taught me to be tough, strong and independent - among all to never give up.
We must work to include displaced people and to appreciate them as unique individuals; each with their own dreams and ambitions. Mariela has learnt much from her own experiences of seeking refuge and wishes to encourage others to seek opportunities and - crucially - not to be afraid of failure. Mariela urges us to never underestimate the ability of music and art to build bridges and bring people together. It is through creative expression that we can find an outlet and the strength to overcome adversity.
Thank you so much to Mariela for sharing her powerful and moving story, and also to all those who attended this Talitha Talk.
Sending love, strength and courage to all.
You can read more about Mariela's life and journey in our previous blog post here: How the Violin Became and Instrument of Peace