Rarely is the ancient language of Assyrian featured in contemporary popular music but one artist keeping the beauty of the language alive is Faia Younan, an Assyrian-Syrian singer and activist from Syria, and the voice behind the hit title "To Our Countries." Her songs, written in Assyrian, bring diversity to today’s the Middle Eastern music scene, and are a symbol of the true nature of the region, one that is ethnically diverse and rich in history. Younan is also known as the first female artist from the region to launch a debut through crowdfunding.
Younan was born in 1992 to a Christian Assyrian family in the Syrian village of Al-Malikiyah, and moved between Damascus and Aleppo growing up. She and her family relocated to Sweden by the time she was 11, and would go on to study Social Sciences at University of Glasgow in Scotland.
In her twenties, Younan became a volunteer at the Swedish Red Cross, and also sang at cultural events. In fact, she loved to sing since when she was a kid, and she would even sing at her cousins' weddings. It was also a way to heal her soul after losing her brother in 2008. But, perhaps, she didn't anticipate what came next.
Syria was going through turmoil during the first half of the 2010s and, by October 2014, it inspired Younan to do a collaboration with her sister, Rihan. The pair produced a video together titled "To Our Countries," which tackled the problems facing the region with rendition of songs by the Lebanese diva, Fairuz. The video became a viral hit, encouraging Younan to take up singing as a full-time career. And, as they say, the rest is history!
Younan went on to launch her career in 2015 with her debut single "Ohebbou Yadayka" ("I Love Your Hand"). However, she did this by crowdfunding a total of $25,000 through 119 contributors, which became a social media phenomenon amongst supporters. It may seem ordinary in usual circumstances, but this earned Younan a spot on the Guinness World Records as the first female singer from the region to crowdfund a debut. She was officially certified in 2018.
Throughout the years, Younan would go on to produce new singles and release her first album "A Sea between Us," in addition to going on a tour across Europe with Damon Albarn and the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, and collaborations. On January 30, 2020, she teamed up with John Legend at a highly anticipated gig at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai. Currently, fans can listen to all her songs on iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify.