Chew & Glue/ علج بوبي

Dialogue and cohesion amongst UK Iraqi diaspora

What is my connection to Iraq now? Can British-Iraqis help shape Iraq’s future? 

Chew & Glue/ علج بوبي is an event to explore our connections to Iraq, the UK and one another. Come and share your experiences and ideas in a fun, friendly, creative space and join us for live music from two UK-based Iraqi artists.


The day event is intended for young Iraqis in the UK to meet, connect on shared interests and explore differences. This will be a guided event, part networking part workshop, which encourages young Iraqis in the UK to chew on the issues that matter and glue in exploring solutions.

Life is a Pitch! will form the heart of the day’s activity, where participants are invited to share any current, past or potential future initiatives they are involved in. These can relate to Iraq and/ or British-Iraqi relations. We invite expressions of interest to pitch an idea or share a current project you’ve involved in at Chew & Glue/ علج بوبي on Sunday 8th November 2015. So identify a social issue or problem that you are passionate about, immerse yourself in understanding it and provide a solution that has realistic viability. If you’re already involved in an initiative, come share it with others to gain potential contacts, supporters and collaborators. If you are selected, you will have 3 minutes to pitch your idea/ or current project, then a chance to discuss it with others. You’ll be timed, so make every second count!


The evening performance begins at 6:30pm and is open to all members of the public, even those who would not be able to attend the day event.

We will have two very different Iraqi-inspired music styles, both from Iraqi musicians living in the UK.

Venue capacity is limited so please get in touch to book your place!


Date: Sunday 8th November 2015

Times: Day Event 2:30pm- 6pm, with Evening Performance at 6:30pm.

Venue: Arab British Centre, 1 Gough Square, London EC4A 3DE.

Contact: Tara Jaffar for any queries, to submit your ‘pitch’ proposal and to book your place (day/ evening).

This is an event organised by Meryna/مرنة in collaboration with the Arab British CentreIraq Body CountIraq Digital MemorialBritish Institute for the Study of Iraq and Qufi Creative.

About our artists, for the evening performance: 

We will have two UK-based Iraqi artists share their music with us (6:30-8:30pm), beginning with Lilac Al-Taie’s classical oud, followed by our main performer for the evening, Amar Alaw on saxophone, with his unique blend of jazz and Iraqi Maqam.


Lilac Al-Taie,  Oud, opens our evening performance.

Lilac Al-Taie, Oud

Twenty two year old Lilac is an Iraqi woman, born and lived in Iraq until 2005, when she left the country with her Family to live in Syria for a while then to Egypt. She studied the Oud in Bait Al Oud Al-Arabi in Cairo under supervision of Musician Naseer Shamma, participated in many group and solo performances since and continues to play the Oud whenever life allows. She is currently in her final year of Architecture study and she enjoys playing and shifting between expressive disciplines to explore and test the limits of her own identity. The creative journey has definitely been a freeing one and that which brought about links and connections with different cultural settings in a dance of relating to other people and finding or loosing herself in that process.


Amar Alaw, Saxophone, draws on Iraqi maqam for his unique brand of Sufi Jazz.

Amar Alaw, Saxophone

I am a self-motivated musician channelling my life experience of War, sanctions and migration into music – specifically Iraqi Maqam. The Iraqi Maqam is a music form that originates from the main cities of Iraq and depicts the classical and traditional music of Iraq. As a teenager, I started my music career with Abdul Razak Abdul Wahab in Baghdad, where I had been enchanted by the non-traditional musical instrument – the saxophone. Later I was taught by Monty Waters in Munich, who introduced me to Jazz music. I have played the saxophone for over twenty years, and developed my own technique for performing the Iraqi Maqam by using quartertones. This invites more traditional Eastern music to be performed on a typically Western instrument. I play several music forms, my most popular being Oriental Sufi-Jazz based on the Iraqi Maqam. I have performed in several countries (Iraq, Jordan, Germany and the UK), both as a solo musician and as part of a band (e.g. The Brothers, Hella, Baghdad Band, Ur, The Refugees). This has included a wide variety of charity concerts, ceremonies, and as an accompaniment to poetry and pantomimes. Looking to the future, I hope to continue enjoying my music as I firmly believe that music is the language that can bring peace to people and their planet.

Please note: Venue capacity is limited so please book your place, and we’re aiming for English, not Iraqi timing, so please turn up on time! 

Click here for the Newsletter for this event.