NORTH ALEPPO COUNTRYSIDE, Syria ( North Press) - Although playing the drum in Afrin was always limited to male drummers, 17-year-old Nubhar Suleiman, a displaced from the village of Burj Soliman in the Afrin region, succeeded in breaking this monopoly to become the first female drummer in her region.
Nubhar comes from a society that considers female drummers strange and unusual to the culture and customs. Even her peers tend to play other instruments such as the guitar, piano, and violin.
Nubhar said that ”playing the big drum as a female is something unfamiliar in Afrin’s social norms, especially in my village.”
"I wanted to be the first girl who breaks this norm. I’ll try to make playing the drum among girls something normal and prove that women can play it and that playing this instrument is not restricted to men only,” Nubhar added.
Nubhar spends most of her time out of her house that she lived in with her family in Ahdath village in the northern countryside of Aleppo, trying to making the best of her time by learning to play different musical instruments.
Nubhar’s mother, Zainab Suleiman, told North Press about her daughter’s love to music and arts. "At first I was wondering, 'how could my daughter play the drum?' I never saw or heard of a female drummer in Afrin; I respected it but didn’t support her at first.”
“But when I saw her desire to challenge the habits and restrictions imposed on girls through her hobby, I began to encourage her to be a drummer and learn to play other musical instruments as well,” the mother added.
In Afrin, Nubhar was very active, and at the age of 13 she was part of the Kulilken Zozanan Kurdish folklore band. There she learned how to play the Derbake drum and participated in many festivals. After her displacement, however, she was forced to stop playing.
The Turkish military and its affiliated armed opposition groups invaded the Afrin region on January 20, 2018, resulting in the displacement of more than 300,000 people, according to the Human Rights Organization in Afrin.
After her displacement to the northern countryside of Aleppo, the girl joined several bands within the Golden Crescent, an institution that organizes cultural and artistic events. She plays the Derbake, the tambourine, sings, and is also a player on the young women's soccer team.
The first party that Nubhar took part in as a drummer was a Women’s Day celebration in northern countryside of Aleppo, an unusual scene in her society and a unique experience.
The Golden Crescent Center in the northern countryside of Aleppo includes eight groups, including for folk dancing for children and young women, four singing groups, and a theater group, in addition to providing courses to teach musical instruments.
Nubhar is also practicing the bouzouki and aspires to learn to play the guitar in the future, adding, "I like to master every instrument I love."
This year, Nubhar is studying in the third year of high school, preparing lessons at home in preparation for school opening. Reporting by Dejla Khalil