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Mustafa al-Kurd, on Jerusalem

Contributed by This Week In Palestine on 18.09.2009:

Mustafa al-Kurd Praises His Native City Jerusalem with Song

Mustafa al-Kurd dedicates his newly released CD Al-Madah (The Troubadour) to his native city Jerusalem. The lyrics for six of the songs, which were written by Mustafa (as well as the lyrics of the two remaining songs, which were written by Izz el-Din al-Manasra and Yaqub Ismain), create an image of Jerusalem in word and music: a painting in music, lovingly detailed sketches of places and people in the city, intermingled with historical memories and religious allegory, but above all and throughout with an overwhelming love for this unique city.

There is an almost nostalgic, painful longing for the past, combined with bitter criticism of the present, but never without the hope – despite everything – for a different future.

The chansons are sung by Mustafa al-Kurd, who accompanies himself on the oud, enticing the listener with some fascinating oud solos. Hani Assad’s percussion falls in perfectly with the atmosphere of the songs.

This CD overwhelms the attentive listener through Mustafa’s almost Sufi-style singing, the minimal instrumentation, and the perfect balance that is achieved between rhythm, melody, and artistic performance. The end-result is a unique declaration of love to a city which today is more embattled than ever.

Obsessed with love

Obsessed with love for you

Oh Jerusalem, my love is like madness

Interwoven in these love songs for Jerusalem are scenes of love and courtship inside the walls of the Old City.

Over the archway there are two windows

With curtains of tulle

Embroidered with beads,

Blue, to ward off envious eyes,

Seeing her illuminates the universe

And she teases you with her secrets…

Some of the songs were already presented by Mustafa al-Kurd in a number of concerts in Jerusalem and Amman. A series of concerts, both in Palestine and abroad, is planned for the next few months.

The CD was recorded by Darwish at the Jerusalem Center for Arabic Music in Jerusalem, who also did the mixing at Sabreen, Jerusalem. Mastering was done by Mazen Murad at Metropolis Group Studios in London. Hani Sharaf, together with Christopher H. Bourke and Darwish, contributed the artwork. The introduction to the songs on this new CD was written by Mahmud Shqeir.

The original Arabic lyrics for the songs are reproduced in a booklet that comes with the CD. Translations into English (by Anita Vitullo-Khoury) and German (Magda Barakat and Anis Hamadeh) are also included.

The CD is distributed (for the time being) in all specialised shops in Jerusalem and the West Bank and can also be found at the Jerusalem Center for Arabic Music in Jerusalem.

TWIP, September 2009

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