Dylan Connor Sings For Syria

Eighteen months ago, “06880” profiled Dylan Connor.

Eight years earlier, singing at Southport Brewing Company’s karaoke night, the Westport native met a Syrian woman named Reem. She wouldn’t give him her number, or take his.

Desperate to talk, he gave her a CD of his music. She was impressed that an American sang anti-Bush, anti-Iraq War songs.

Dylan Connor

Dylan Connor

Over a long period of time, they fell in love. Her family finally granted her permission to be married. Dylan and Reem had a daughter, Fayrouz.

Traveling to Syria — a country he had known little about — Dylan was overwhelmed by its history, beauty, food, sights and people.

He wrote a song about it. After the revolution began — and seeing horrific photos and videos of protesters being shot — Dylan wrote more songs, and posted them to YouTube. They were played on Al Aribiya. Syrians were moved that Americans cared.

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Dylan organized and played at benefits in 7 states. He has helped raise over $1 million for Syrian aid.

Now, in 2014, Dylan is still singing about, and trying to help, the country he has grown to love.

On January 14 he’ll release a CD called “Blood Like Fire (Songs for Syria).” Available worldwide on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and more, it chronicles the Syrian crisis. He sings in both Arabic and English.

Each song was written at a crucial moment in the nation’s struggles, as seen through the lens of Dylan’s family members on the ground.

The cover of "Blood Like Fire."

The cover of “Blood Like Fire.”

All proceeds will benefit the Karam Foundation’s Camp Zeitouna, which brings educational programs to displaced Syrian children. Dylan has been invited on their summer mission to Amman, Jordan, where he will provide arts programs to kids.

On Friday, January 17 (7 p.m.), Dylan celebrates the CD release with a show at FTC Stage One. His backing band includes very talented Westporters Merritt Jacob, Mark Mollica, Joe Izzo and Dan Asher.

Then Dylan heads off for performances in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Diego.

His Syrian in-laws have lived with Dylan and Reem for nearly 3 years. Their New Year’s wish is to be back in their country — a free country — next year. Those are high hopes.

In 2013 Dylan helped some family members leave Syria for safer pastures. It was, he says, “intense but satisfying work.”

He also collected clothes, so Syrian children can stay warm this winter. They are, he notes, “literally freezing to death.”

Life is brutal in Syria. Many Americans are still only dimly aware of the conflict. Through songs, concerts — and relentless activism — Dylan Connor is doing what he can to change all that.

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