Palestinian singer, musician and broadcaster Reem Kelani released digitally two new tracks in an EP entitled “The Singer Said: Bird of Dawn” on 21st March 2022. The EP is a tribute to Iranian singer, calligrapher and political activist Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, one of the world’s greatest vocalists, who died in 2020:
– The Singer Said (Qāla al-Mughannī), Reem’s musical setting of a poem by Palestine’s national poet Mahmoud Darwish;
– Bird of Dawn(Morgh-e Saḥar), Reem’s arrangement of Shajarian’s famous song. The lyrics were written by Mohammad-Taqi Bahar and the music by Morteza Neidavoud.
The songs were recorded during lockdown, with each musician in their own home. The audio was engineered by Reem’s long-standing production engineer, Steve Lowe. A video of the lockdown recording is being edited by Brett Chapman and will be released in due course.
Reem is joined by Basel Zayed (Palestine) on ‘oud, Bruno Heinen (UK/USA) on piano, Ryan Trebilcock (UK) on double bass, Fariborz Kiani (Iran) on tombak and Riccardo Chiaberta (Italy) on drums.
True to form, Reem has produced a trilingual accompanying booklet in English, Arabic and Farsi. In this endeavour, we were honoured to work with fine linguists and poets. Reem spent several months working on her Farsi pronunciation and grammar with UK-based Iranian academic Mateen Arghandehpour. Award-winning Palestinian poet, Najwan Darwish, supervised the Arabic translations, and worked together with Ahvaz (Ahwaz)-based poet Hamza Kuti on the translation from Farsi into Classical Arabic. The booklet also contains musicological and historical notes, plus a detailed glossary.
The cover design and booklet artwork are by the young Egyptian graphic designer Lujine Zaher. The calligraphy and typography are by internationally renowned artist Bahman Panahi, whose calligraphy also graced Reem’s debut classic “Sprinting Gazelle – Palestinian Songs from the Motherland and the Diaspora”.
This release is an integral part of Reem’s on-going project “This Land is Your Land” which builds upon her experience of the many communities within and around which she grew up in Kuwait, and alongside which she now lives in the UK. As such, it is a ‘project’ rather than an ‘album’. There again, in a Covid world and with the facility of digital release, we have decided to bring out the songs as and when circumstances, both personal and financial, allow.
Once again, the acclaimed singer-songwriter Leon Rosselson (“the sharpest lyricist in the West”) has given us the honour of releasing this EP on Fuse Records.