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The Popular Music Scene in Palestine and the Middle East

This is the second installment of our series about life in Palestine, which will also touch on broader Middle Eastern Culture. Below is a piece written by Teshreen Sami, a young writer who lives in Gaza.

In the Middle East our music tells our traditional stories, and captures our history and our view of the future. Sounds of silent spirits have been rising and a new attitude towards musical expression aims to support and nourish the Palestinian resistance movement. Our music is changing to reflect our current situation and our hopes and fears about the future. Our poets and musicians are creating a new music scene for a new era.

One voice inside two souls:

One of the most outstanding examples of current trends in Palestinian music is the harmony and blend of the two souls Mahmoud Darwish, the late Palestinian poet, and the Lebanese Oud player Marciel Khalifa. Mahmoud Darwish lighted the candles for his friend Marciel to produce music to capture our cultural heritage transmitted through generations. We all know the story of how Mahmoud Darwish while in an Israeli jail released his inner-most reflections by writing on the prison wall. Marciel took these powerful words and converted it to be a patriotic song. A calm and peaceful nature is the best description of their cooperative work.

Rim Banna:

Rim Banna, the owner of an impressive resume, is a human activist, composer and singer. She suffered with cancer for 13 years before her death in March. Her struggle against her cancer inspired everyone and she became a symbol of our resistance. Throughout her lyric journey, Rim showed the shining and charming side of the Palestinian resistance including “The absent one”, the amazingly expressed poem. She also wove the words of the great poet, Rashid Hussein into her album "Revelation of Ecstasy and Rebellion".

Le Trio Joubran:

Le Trio Joubran is made up of three Palestinian Oud players from Al-Nasra. On the stage their music radiates like the sun. Samir, the oldest brother is considered the most outstanding musician in Joubran. He entertained as a solo act for a decade before being joined by his two younger brothers who mastered Oud and filled out the trio. The three brothers’ music represents the feelings and longings of the families in every Palestinian home. Joubran has composed music for films and documentaries.

Here are some links to sample the music: Le Trio Joubran here.

Rim Banna here.

Marciel Khalifa here.

Picture Credit: Rim Banna at Musikk for Gaza, Oslo, BY: GGAADD

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