Celebrating Sanctuary supports and is supported by a range of musicians and other artists from different backgrounds.

You can discover a bit more about our featured artists, listen to their music, see their work, and keep track of their gigs, by clicking on the links below.

If you’d like to enquire about bookings, please contact us and we’ll put you in touch.

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Zirak Hamad


Zirak Hamad is a violinist, drummer and teacher who came to the UK in 2002 from Iraqi Kurdistan. A graduate of the Institute of Fine Arts in Iraq, he has a wide range of artistic experience in his home country where he worked as a primary school teacher, festival organiser, broadcaster, television presenter and music critic. During his time in the UK he worked as a freelance artist delivering Middle Eastern dance and music workshops for schools, community groups and festivals, in the UK and internationally.  He also formed his own band called Daholl Kurdish Ensemble, and performed with eclectic trio Village Well and gypsy/klezmer band Karaj.

“[A] musician with breathtaking skills…” [The Guardian]

“…sensitive music and vibrant interventions…” [Phil Smith, Lit Up]

“[I liked best] the Kurdish dance. And the Kurdish dancer was excellent so can you say thank you to him?” [pupil, Celebrating Sanctuary Festival]

Daholl Kurdish Ensemble

Daholl -  a Kurdish band playing a lively blend of Middle Eastern popular and traditional music. Well loved by audiences at our city centre festival for Refugee Week, the band was known for inspiring spontaneous displays of traditional Kurdish dancing which people of all backgrounds love to join in with. The band’s name originates from a traditional Kurdish percussion instrument. The group performed in a wide variety of settings with a range of artists, including festivals, parties and formal concerts in the West Midlands and nationally.


While in the UK Zirak started up a music evening / event at The Old Print Works in Balsall Heath, Birmingham.  Initially it was an informal get together of artists and creative people but has grown over the years to become a regular music event featuring local artists of all genres, refugee artists, world music and crafts.  Zirak left the UK in 2012 to return to Kurdistan and now holds a prestigious position there.  He has also taken the legacy of Muzikstan and set up similar events over there.  Meanwhile Muzikstan UK is still going strong with the ongoing commitment and support of Sophie Handy.  Celebrating Sanctuary often works in partnership to put on events and we are delighted to continue our support for this great legacy of Zirak’s to the people of Birmingham.