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Sulaimani first ever heavy metal festival

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Sulaimani first ever heavy metal festival

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Nov 03, 2023 11:35 pm


First heavy metal festival

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan city of culture played host to Iraq’s first-ever heavy metal fest on Friday, with the participation of international and local bands

Titled the “Peacecore Fest,” it was under the slogans of reconciliation, peace, and friendship. This is the second Peacecore Fest. The first was held in Germany in September.

In Sulaimani, three groups from Iraq, Turkey, and Iran performed, as well as a solo heavy metal project from the Kurdistan Region.

“This is the first time happening in great Iraq and great Kurdistan. The first time, there was a Peacecore Fest in Germany, which we played as Dark Phantom and then I got introduced to the organizers and then I said I have this great idea, maybe we should hold the same thing in Kurdistan,” Miran Shamal, the organizer of the event, told Rudaw English.

On stage, the tall, long-haired, slender man, rocked traditional Kurdish clothes with a vest embellished with the logos of world-famous heavy metal bands, including Metallica and Black Sabbath.

He told the crowd that he was there to spread love and then performed as the first ever Kurdish solo heavy metal project, Cyaxares, named after the third king of the Medes who is mentioned in the Kurdish national anthem.

Shamal is also a member of the band Dark Phantom from Kirkuk.

Ferec is a Kurdish heavy metal group from Turkey’s Kurdish city of Van. This was the first time the 25-year veteran rockers played in Sulaimani.

“This is the first time we are working with groups from other countries. This is a wonderful thing for us, to know that there are metal groups around here playing their music,” said Reh Fuat, the founder and lead singer of the group.

Fuat said he sees no difference between the lovers of heavy metal in Kurdistan or anywhere else, explaining that they all have been through similar plights, and share similar stories.

Ferec has a wide fanbase in Turkey, having toured all over the country for a quarter of a century. The band from Iran, however, has a very different tale. Three young musicians from different cities met each other over social media and decided to form the band Unitique in 2022. A shared love of modern heavy metal music was what brought them together.

Peacecore Fest was their first concert.

“This is our first show because we could not have any shows in Iran. In Iran, such shows are very rare and even done in secret,” said Unitique guitarist Zhino said.

Shamal and Dark Phantom have similar struggles to build a fanbase and find space to perform.

“For us, we had to get to the end just to reach the beginning. Bands in Europe start today and play on the stage the next day. But for us it took 14 to 15 years just to reach the beginning,” said Shamal.

Peacecore Fest was a joy for the dozens in attendance who painted downtown Sulaimani’s old Cigarette Factory in black.

Mitra Khasraw is originally from Iran’s Kurdish city of Sanandaj and has been living in Sulaimani for six years. For her, heavy metal means love since she started listening to the genre after meeting her husband.

“I am very happy that a metal concert is being held in Sulaimani. I have a very wonderful feeling,” she said. She was especially proud that one of the performers was a fellow woman from Sanandaj playing her favourite music.
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Sulaimani first ever heavy metal festival



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