Ali finds his tune again after life changing move

ALI Eibo needs an interpreter to tell his story of how he ended up in Coffs Harbour after he managed to escape the deadly Syrian civil war.

But listening to him play his bouzouki live, and in front of his family, you can hear and see how elated he is to be in Australia.

He has now been living in Coffs Harbour for three months and is doing intensive English classes at TAFE.

TUNING IN: Ali Eibo, better known as Shkaki on stage, is a Syrian refugee settling into Coffs Harbour with his wife and two sons.
TUNING IN: Ali Eibo, better known as Shkaki on stage, is a Syrian refugee settling into Coffs Harbour with his wife and two sons. Keagan Elder

Better known as Shkaki on stage, Ali was a well renowned performer in the district of Afrin on the outskirts of the city Aleppo.

The 40-year-old started performing as a teenager and taught himself how to play the bouzouki, a traditional string instrument which provides the backing music to many classic Kurdish and Arabic tracks.

Telling his story through the help of interpreter Yarob Haddad, Ali described the instrument as being "half of his body".

Ali lives and breathes music. He writes music to back poems about love, landscape and respect for his country of Syria.

But Ali was forcibly separated from his passion when he fled the Syrian civil war in 2014 for Iraq.

He left a little before his wife, Khaton, and two sons Roudi, 13, and Nishan, 6. At the same time, Ali also left his small collection of instruments with his family.

In Iraq, where Ali lived for three years, he said he lost his desire to perform even when his family arrived with his instruments.

Now in Coffs he has once again found his tune and hopes to mix with western music.

Ali will be performing the Freedom Feat multicultural banquet on Friday, June 30, an extension of Refugee Week which starts this Sunday.

To RSVP, visit

Topics:  coffs coast culture multicultural refugee week syrian refugees

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