From the release of my EP “The Singer Said: Bird of Dawn” in 2022 and my research-based concert “A People by the Sea” for the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit in the first half of 2023 http://tinyurl.com/mu9c9y9c, the latter half of 2023 saw me move forward with the next phase in my This Land is Your Land artistic journey, with a focus on the cultural legacy of Arab and Muslim Spain (711-1492), known as al-Andalus at the time. A highlight of my year was a short but focussed field trip to Seville in June which included:
- A visit to the Alcazar, of which one of the next album’s principal characters, King of Seville Al-Mu’tamid ibn Abbad (c. 1045-1095), was one of the original creators;
- A visit to ‘Dar al-Farah’ (House of Joy), the remarkable home of the Andalusian nationalist Blas Infante (1885-1936), in Coria del Río, near Seville;
- Meeting Pablo Cano, son of the Andalusian singer-songwriter Carlos Cano (1946-2000) and a musician himself, with a view to recording a song together on the album.
Work was proceeding apace, and I had variously researched, composed and finalised the arrangements of the songs. I was also about to launch a new appeal to secure the funding from my supporters. That was until 7th October, since when I have been completely unable to focus on anything, let alone music.
Hamas’ attack cannot be viewed as anything other than an uprising against the overweening oppression of Israel’s occupation. Meanwhile, Israel’s response, which is so clearly aimed at the total destruction of Palestinian life in Gaza, has dismantled whatever reputation Western nations might once have had for upholding human rights and the rule of law. We Palestinians are the new “Untermenschen”, not deserving of the rights which others enjoy. We will not forget or forgive; not just the Israeli “civilians” who participated in and cheered on the slaughter, but those in the West who kept silent whilst their governments provided Israel weapons and political cover.
My health failed me again in December and I was in hospital for two weeks from Christmas Eve into the New Year with asthma-related problems. Thankfully I am now back at home, but I have some way to go to get back basic fitness.
If the music industry in the UK has long been a hostile environment for Palestinian artists who carry the Palestinian narrative, the levels of discrimination being practiced may become too embarrassing for those involved to continue to ignore. Moreover, the ‘World Music’ scene has long been a priority focus for Israel’s state propaganda operation; it remains to be seen whether programmers, presenters and festival directors will be as accommodating of this activity as they have been in the past.
Thank you to all my fans and friends who have supported me through the years. If, however, you are a friend of Israel, please remove your name from my mailing list.
There is no space in my life, either personal or professional, for genocide, its perpetrators, its enablers and those who simply stay silent and acquiesce in its commission.
Thank you, too, for supporting my work by buying my albums. We are currently offering copies of “Live at the Tabernacle” at a very competitive price (and including a free digital download copy with each purchase): https://reemkelani.com/buy_albums.asp
We also still have stocks of my “Sprinting Gazelle” for sale (from the above link).