Still, some things make him hopeful. In the village of Bahzani, where religious music couldn’t be performed after ISIS attacked, young people from the traditional Yazidi priestly families are learning it again.
AMAR has recorded some Yazidi folk songs and sacred music and given the recordings to the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library to archive. And young Yazidis, like the members of the Ashti choir, are enthusiastic about their heritage.
“They are so excited and interested in this kind of music, and this is something very nice that we are still holding our traditional music,” says Vian Darwish, a Yazidi member of Iraq’s parliament.
After the horror of 2014, she says, gatherings, festivities and singing were muted. But now, “they are trying to go on to heal, to have their normal life and not to be victimized. This is what I like about the Yazidi community in general, that they have that sense of the love of the life and they want to go on and love music, weddings, parties — having normal lives in spite of everything.”