Yazidi choir who survived so-called Islamic State raise their voices in bid to save culture

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy

Through ancient and recent history, the Yazidi people of Iraq, Syria and Turkey have faced persecution.

Thousands of the minority ethnic and religious group were killed in the summer of 2014 when they were driven from their homes in Northern Iraq by a surging so-called Islamic State.

Yazidi women and girls were raped or kidnapped by so-called IS fighters and many are still missing.

With the help of a British charity, women who survived the genocide which saw 5,000 of their people slaughtered are raising their voices, in a bid to make sure they and the crimes against them are not forgotten.

The women and girls all lived in the Singar region of Iraq.

Devlin said the music has helped many Yazidi women who have lost almost everything. Credit: ITV News

Devlin, who is a part of the choir, told ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy: "When ISIS attacked, we lost many things and girls and my house, but we try to live anyway and when we sing, it's a very good thing."

For those who survived the horrors of the genocide, Yazidi heritage is now even more treasured and at the heart of that heritage is music.

"Music is the most important thing in life," Reni told ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy.

"Without music we are nothing," she added.

Yazidi music is not written down and to ensure that it is not forgotten, and recordings are to be stored at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne said the music is the food of life. Credit: ITV News

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, Executive Chair of the AMAR Foundation which works to rebuild and improve the lives of disadvantaged communities in war-torn areas and hosted the choir's performance, told ITV News: "Music is the food of not just love but life, if you wipe our the music and culture, you've lost them forever, you've succeeded, you've killed them off."

This choir will ensure that Yazidi music is never lost and it is already helping many women find a future with moments of peace.