Music. Palestine. Sounds of a wounded land.

A mix of traditional music with the modern musical styles of pop rock and hip-hop. The theme always remains the life of a people who have been suffering for too many years.

The Holy Land has always been a difficult country, overflowing with political tensions and conflicting religiosities. It is difficult to say – even more so after the recent terrorist attack by Hamas and the very harsh Israeli response – if and when these places will be able to have that peace which should also be a natural condition for a land defined as ‘holy’.What is certain is that on both sides, the majority of musicians, both Jewish and Palestinian, have almost always tried with their music and their songs to create common points between religions and civilizations with intertwined and at the same time very different roots.

Kamilya Jubran with Oud during a concert in the Domforum, Cologne, Germany. CC BY-SA 4.0/ Raimond Spekking

This time we want to talk about the Arab-Palestinian scene, since it is much less known in the West than the Israeli-Jewish one which, thanks to some pop stars like Noa and the unforgettable Ofra Haza, but also many klezmer groups and a world-famous jazz singer like Yael Naim, is more well-known on the European and US markets.
It must be highlighted that most of the more famous groups and soloists mix traditional music with the modern languages of pop rock and hip hop, often using their lyrics to express the suffering caused by the sociopolitical condition of their people, to promote their culture but also to strengthen hope in a different future.

Faraj Suleiman is a Palestinian composer and pianist. His music is strongly influenced by Arabic/Eastern melodies and rhythms. Facebook

The tormented Gaza Strip is at the forefront of this type of approach, primarily with bands such as Osprey V or 47 Soul who have been proposing a powerful blend of hip hop and rap since 2012; while among the soloists the pop singer Maysoon Zayed should be mentioned.
The Ramallah scene is also very rich, where we find the DAM band, one of the best-known groups even outside Palestine and among the most politically committed to supporting the Palestinian struggle, the more folkish and now almost legendary Sabreen by Kamilya Jubran, and Al Raseef, an Italian-Palestinian band that blends rock and jazz with sounds which are clearly of spicy Middle Eastern flavour.
Other creative hubs with lively musical panoramas are Bethlehem (with the famous Sol Band) and Nazareth, where the heavy rock band Khalas is based; and Faraj Suleiman from Galilee and one of the most interesting pianists in the entire Arab world.
(Open Photo: Palestinian young men play the oud (lute) on the coast of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. Shutterstock/Anas-Mohammed)

Franz Coriasco 



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