Yanni Plays Music for Aleppo and Selena
© Photo: Yanni’s Facebook page

Perhaps the loudest sound in the language of war is the one of bullets and guns, but sometimes it might be the sound of a piano.

In one of his last concerts in the United States, Yanni, a known Greek pianist, spent a while telling the audience a very emotional story about a young lady from Aleppo.

Her name is Selena, an engineering student, and she still lives in Aleppo, which is one of the most dangerous cities in Syria. Yanni said:

“She wrote on my Facebook and introduced herself. She is 20 years old. She is going to school. You know Aleppo, right? They do not have good times now. It is horrific! It is amazing that people actually go to schools there.”

“I promised to tell her story around the world,” Yanni added.

Selena wrote a comment on Yanni’s Facebook page telling her experience, while she was preparing for her exams.

“She was in her living room studying, and she decided to go to the bedroom to pick up her laptop. On the way there, she was walking through the corridor and something told her to stop. She heard the word ‘stop!’ a couple times. All she remembers that she dropped her book and a mortar shell came through the roof and went right in her room. If she had been in there two seconds earlier, she wouldn’t be around. This happed last week,” Yanni told the audience.

 “She was shocked. Her family ran away in the middle of the night. I do not know, anywhere, thank god they are OK right now. And all she could think about is ‘I have to go back and get my books because I have exams next week.’ And I’m thinking, ‘are you crazy? You cannot get back to that house. There is no way! A bomb fell on it. They brought a bomb in that area. Stay away of it!’”

Yanni added that she woke up next morning and decided to start a new life and to have new books.

 “Beautiful young lady! Very impressive!,” he described her.

“Selena I love you. You are great! Keep it up!”

“I will play Almost a Whisper for you, even though I have never played that song in my life. So I’m gonna try to play it for you tonight and all the people in Syria …This is for Aleppo.”


In her Facebook message, Selena asked Yanni if he could play almost a whisper for her. Selena thanked him for his music, which gives her a positive energy, and described it as “help” for her.

Yanni has started playing piano since childhood and has released many albums, some of which became hits on bestselling lists. His concerts are worldwide visited. Yanni continued his undergraduate studies in psychology in the United States of America and later received an honorary doctorate in literature from the University of Minnesota.

By Jumana Alasaad

is an archaeologist and a PhD candidate specialised in history and cultures of the ancient Near East, especially Iraq and Syria. She has finished a Masters Degree in Old Near East Archaeology from Ruprecht Karls University in Heidelberg, Germany. She has joined many excavations and archaeology projects in Syria and recently in Iraq. In addition to her contribution to the culture section on the MPC Journal and her research on the cultures and history of West Asia and North Africa, she also offers lectures in Standard Arabic at the Volkshochschule in Heidelberg.