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Plugging Musical Dreams Into Reality

Feesheh, or “plug”, is proof that frustration can be a great catalyst for creative change. It started when Nur Al-Fayez and Fahed Farraj, two late-blooming musicians, finally realized their dreams of learning to play–he, electric guitar; she, violin—when in their mid-twenties they could buy instruments with their first salaries. Nur bought her violin through classified ads, she recalls, “because I had no clue where to buy one.”

But when they started looking for recording equipment, they found “nothing catering to us.” Forced to order from the US, the pair was “shocked that we had to pay customs fees, taxes, clearance,”–which more than doubled the price. “That added to our frustration,” Nur says, “and we decided to do something about it.”

They launched Feesheh in March 2012 as a brand with a mission: to make instruments accessible to Arab youth and encourage music as a form of self-expression. Building on swift success in Jordan, Feesheh is now expanding regionally, starting with Dubai. More than an online store, it is an virtual community for musicians, with a question-answer forum, video reviews and musician classifieds in the works.

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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