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Oyoun Al Kalaam Dal’Ouna

Contributed by This Week In Palestine on 26.03.2008:

“In the summer of 2003, Al-Fawwar Camp was our destination,” noted Saed Karzoun – Al Kamandjâti PR and media officer. He continues, “We were holding a music workshop for the kids who live in the camp. A little boy stood up while we were playing music; it seemed as though he wanted to say something. He was 13-year-old Oday Khatib. After a minute of silence, while his face was getting redder, he said: “I want to sing.”

On December 20, 2007, Oday Khatib and Noura Madi (a 15-year-old from Salfit) recorded their first album at Osiris Studio in France. The album, Oyoun Al Kalaam, contains traditional Palestinian songs, oriental music, and classical Arabic music pieces.

Celine Dagher, Al Kamandjâti executive director, says that the message of the album is to spread the Palestinian music and the oriental culture throughout the whole world. Music is able to pass through borders and gets the world’s attention. In her opinion, the music on this CD metaphorically united the Arab countries of the Mediterranean basin (Al Cham).

The title of the CD, “Oyoun Al Kalaam,” is a very famous song of Sheikh Imam, the Egyptian revolutionary singer who criticized the politics in the Arab World during the sixties and seventies. The name of the band – “Dal’Ouna” – is a Palestinian word that was widely used throughout the olive-picking season. Palestinian peasants used to call the group of people who volunteered to help them in this hard work “ouna” or help.

The second song of the collection is a sweet Rahbani song that we are all familiar with, sung by Fairuz, the great Lebanese singer. Noura’s gentle voice has interpreted “Baadek ‘ala Bali” differently than what we are used to.

The third song comes from the Muwashahat – old Arabic sonnets – that used to be sung long ago in Andalusia, Spain. The fourth is Oday’s favourite, the same song he asked to perform in front of the band members the first time he met them back in 2003. “Tayara” is a political song by Marcel Khalifeh, the “Chanson-engagée” Lebanese composer and singer.

The album also contains two instrumental pieces: one was composed by Al Qasabji, and the other is a traditional Arabic tune. The album includes a traditional Syrian song, another Marcel Khalifeh song, and ends with the Palestinian traditional songs “Jafra,” “Where to Ramallah,” and “Dal’Ouna” mixed all into one nice track.

You can find this album in Ramallah at The Edward Sa’id National Conservatory of Music, Al Ru’at Bookshop, True Blue, and Scientific Supply Centre; and in Jerusalem at Music Centre, Educational Bookshop, Jerusalem Bookshop and Al Maktaba Bookshop.

By Ruba Hassan

This Week in Palestine

March 2008

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