Alex Ebsary finds musicians from diverse ethnic backgrounds, secures access to refugee and IDP camps, and produces all field recordings of performers for Music in Exile. The idea came to him after hearing a Syrian refugee play a nearly stringless saz during a trip to Domiz refugee camp in 2013. He began to wonder how he could share the music of refugees with the wider world. Alex has spent more than three years living in Turkey and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq as a student, researcher, and teacher. He has a Master’s degree in Kurdish Studies from the University of Exeter. Apart from co-founding Music in Exile, he is the Director of Public and Academic Affairs at the Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in the United States.
Sasha Ingber is a DC-based multimedia journalist who interviews, photographs, films, and writes about Music in Exile’s featured musicians. She is the associate editor of Smithsonian’s culture magazine, Journeys. She also reports news and produces video for National Geographic. Her writing and photography have appeared in such publications as The Washington Post Magazine, The Atlantic, Smithsonian Magazine, The American Scholar, and NPR. Her compassion for displaced musicians comes from a family history; her grandfather played the violin and aspired to be an opera singer in Germany of the 1930s but was stripped of citizenship and imprisoned in concentration camps, where he sang to preserve hope.
Victoria Pope is an editor and writer with more than three decades experience in the national media. She was previously the editor in chief of Smithsonian Journeys, a quarterly magazine on cultural travel, the deputy editor in chief of National Geographic magazine, executive editor at U.S. News and World Report, and a news correspondent reporting from Warsaw, Bonn, and Moscow. She serves on the board of Music in Exile.
Brent D. Glass is Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. A national leader in the preservation, interpretation, and promotion of history, he is a public historian who today provides management and consulting services to museums, cultural institutions, diplomatic communities, and historical organizations throughout the United States and worldwide. His most recent book, 50 Great American Places (Simon and Schuster, 2016), explores the power of historic sites and how they illuminate core themes in U.S. history. He serves on the board of Music in Exile.
Support in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq:
Kurt Ebsary is a musician and the owner/operator of Leaky Ledge Studios in Buffalo. He has produced three albums of his own, and recorded and mixed albums for a number of local bands. His previous work includes composing and recording in Tanzania, training with Gypsy musicians in Serbia, and performing throughout China. He specializes in keyboard, bass, guitar, and saz.
Joosung Kwon is a Korean American documentary filmmaker living in London. An alumni of University College London where he studied ethnographic and documentary film, his work explores cultural identity, environmentalism, and globalization. His recent film, No Friends But the Mountains, documents nature and wildlife in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.