For Syrian pianist and singer Salam Susu, music is about more than just a career. The 35-year-old has long used instruments as a means for communication when conventional methods haven’t worked out: to convey ideas not always welcome in Syria’s restrictive political environment, and to express herself after a stint in detention. Now, she uses music to connect with an unfamiliar environment—and ultimately find a sense of acceptance—in diaspora.

In this report, the second episode in a two-part mini-series on artists from Syria in exile, Salam describes the formative role music has played in her life, from Syria to displacement, and beyond.

This report is part of a series on Syrian women and peacebuilding, produced by Syria Direct with support from the Canadian Embassy in Amman. The views or opinions expressed during the series are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Syria Direct.

Songs featured in this report:

Longa HijazKar by the Syrian Expat Ensemble

Üsküdar by Radiant Arcadia

Almaya by Radiant Arcadia