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Chan'ad Bahraini

(Scomberomorous maculatus Bahrainius)

Note: This page has moved to a new address. Please click on the following URL to get there: http://chanad.weblogs.us/index.php?s=Marcel Khalife coming to Bahrain. Sorry for the trouble.

Marcel Khalife coming to Bahrain

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Marcel Khalife, the Lebanese composer, singer and oudist will be performing on October 4th at the National Museum at 8pm. This is great news! Marcel Khalife is, in my opinion, the greatest gift to Arab music in the last few decades. For those of you who don't know him, he is perfectly comfortable in the classical musical traditions of both the West and the Orient, often fusing the two. He got in to some hot water a few years back for singing about the biblical Yusuf (Joseph), borrowing a verse from the Quran for his song. (The song is absolutely beautiful -- download the mp3 from here). He is also well known for his songs about Palestine. One of my favourite songs of his is Ila Ummi, ("To My Mother"). The lyrics for the song are based on the poem by Mahmoud Dariwsh. It is a truly moving poem so I thought I'd share the first two verses with you (translated into English):

I yearn for my mother's bread
And my mother's coffee
And my mother's touch
As [my] childhood grows up within me
Day upon the bosom of day,
And I love my life,
For if I died
I would feel shame for my mother's tears

Take me, if I ever return,
As a veil for your lashes
And cover my bones with grass
Baptized in the purity of your heel
Tie me to you
With a lock of your hair
With a thread that trails
In the train of your dress
Perhaps, I would then become a god
A god, I would become
If I touched the depths of your heart

There is no obvious reference to Palestine in the verses, but rather invokes memories of a way of life that is no more; a way of life that was robbed by the Occupation. Darwish usually takes this extremely personal approach to try and express how the Occupation ruined lives and relationships from the point of view of the individual, which is something that people of all castes and creeds can understand. And even if you aren't Palestinian, the poem will surely make you miss your mum!

Anyways, Khalife will be performing in Bahrain as part of a week long "International Music Festival", which will also include the Turkish Sextet, the Iraqi Maqam Ensemble, and our very own Ali Bahar. And best of all, it will be free! (Read the GDN article here)

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