One year after a terrorist attack left 89 people dead in Paris' historic Bataclan concert venue, the theater was reopened by Sting debuting his new song "Inshallah."
The ballad is a tribute to refugees escaping their war-torn countries. Describing the Arabic title – which means "God willing" – as "magnificent," the English singer drew loud applause from the audience.
Sting's performance highlighted the importance of coming together and not allowing tragedy to divide society. In the wake of the attack and others throughout Europe, refugees have often been collectively blamed despite the fact that most of the attackers were born and raised in Europe.
Sting melodically sang the word "inshallah" repeatedly as the chorus of the ballad. The song shares a somber but hopeful message, referencing the plight of refugees crossing the Mediterranean to find safety.
"As the wind blows, growing colder, against the sad boats, as we flee, anxious eyes, search in darkness, with the rising of the sea."
The song's chorus calls for peace of mind in the midst of turmoil.
"Inshallah, inshallah, if it be your will, it shall come to pass. Inshallah, Inshallah, if it be your will."
During the concert, Sting was also accompanied by French-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf and by Algerian artist Cheb Mami.
Speaking to the audience in French, Sting offered a message of hope and moving forward in the face of tragedy.
"In re-opening the Bataclan, we have two important tasks to reconcile," he said, according to USA Today.
"First, to remember and honor those who lost their lives in the attack a year ago, and second to celebrate the life and the music that this historic theater represents. In doing so we hope to respect the memory as well as the life-affirming spirit of those who fell. We shall not forget them."
On Nov. 13 of last year, gunmen claiming to be affiliated with ISIS conducted a series of coordinated attacks throughout the French capital, leaving 130 people dead. The largest number of these casualties were at the Bataclan, where a concert by the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal was underway.
Over the past year, the venue has been entirely renovated. Sting's concert marks the Bataclan's official reopening since the attack.