Celebrating Harmony Day with inspirational leaders

TALENTED SONGWRITER: Sam Gulzari has made Australia his home, and often works with other migrants in the community. He will be a musical guest at Harmony Day.

TALENTED SONGWRITER: Sam Gulzari has made Australia his home, and often works with other migrants in the community. He will be a musical guest at Harmony Day.

Harmony Day is an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate diversity, and the Tatiara District Council have aimed to make this year's event as significant as ever. 

"This year there will be a series of workshops, as we have received a grant from Country Arts SA," Arts and Community Development Officer Naomi Fallon said.

The workshops will be held on Thursday March 14, Friday March 15 and on Harmony Day, Saturday March 16.

Leading these workshops will be Greta Kelly, who has played in DeepBlue and other world music groups, and Sam Gulzari. Sam was a well-known singer in Afghanistan who escaped the Taliban to come to Australia, settling in Naracoorte.

Greta has extensive experience playing the violin, theremin, and sha kaman, and she has studied and performed music in Eastern Europe and Asia. She lived for a time in the Czech Republic, learning the country's music, as well as music from the Balkans.

As her interest in world music grew she added Turkish, Iraqi, Persian, and Arabic music to her repertoire.

As part of Greta's work with DeepBlue she has conducted 'YoungBlue' workshops, teaching the violin to high school and primary school aged children across Australia, and internationally. 

As for Sam Gulzari, he's had a rocky road here, but now he's proud and grateful to be in Australia. 

In Afghanistan, Sam was imprisoned and tortured by the Taliban for simply being a singer. He was kept in prison for six months, and both of his legs were broken. 

In Australia, he has thrived in the local community, volunteering his time in the community, and even releasing a song, Long Live Australia (Zinda Bad Australia), featuring Sutara Arian, a celebrity from Afghanistan who also emigrated here.

There are more than 100 people in the Tatiara district who are of Afghani Hazara descent, and Harmony Day is an opportunity to learn more about their culture through singing and dancing. 

There will also be an incredible array of food on offer, with the opportunity to sample Middle Eastern cuisine. 

"We have six men on the refugee committee, and in planning this day we had one guy who was only interested in the food!" Naomi said.

"So there will be an amazing amount on the day."

This year is also significant as there will be many more women and children who have travelled as refugees from Afghanistan, and will be taking part in the festivities as well.

In addition to Country Arts SA, Harmony Day is also supported by the Australian Migrant Resource Centre.

Harmony Day celebrations will be held in the Civic Centre, and start from 4pm.