What do you consider your homeland? Is it where you were born or where you now live? Or is it somewhere you've never been but you know it, you feel it - you carry it with you inside your DNA until a sound or a lyric jogs loose the deja vu of a brand new memory. Maybe that sound is the oud, an instrument so old that one of its origin stories includes Lamak, sixth grandson of Adam (yes, Eve's Adam). Maybe the lyric is carried by Aya Mhana's voice, so full of emotion that you forgot, while intently listening, that you don't speak Arabic. Lucky for you that Mhana also sings in English so you can hear the beauty of her poetry: the memories of her homeland, her mom, the resilient pecan tree. Mhana started composing songs in Syria, after the war broke out, as a way to give comfort, and voice, to the people around her. Before immigrating from Syria to Calgary in 2016, Mhana spent four years volunteering with Red Crescent to help displaced families. With her oud (self-taught), her voice and her words, Mhana creates a homeland for all of us, a safe place where you will know family, home and hope.
Biography by Chantal Vitalis