Palestinian musician, Reem Kelani, will be in Seattle this week doing a series of concerts, talks and workshops that will culminate in an appearance at Town Hall on April 12th. Her schedule:
Saturday, April 6th: children’s workshops at the Town Hall (at 11am and 1pm): .
Monday, April 8th: a master class in Arabic singing at Cornish College of the Arts 12 noon – 1.30pm: .
Tuesday, April 9th: a presentation on music and resistance with reference to the music of the Arab uprisings) at 7pm Traditions Cafe in Olympia. She will also give short performances to illustrate the talk, accompanied on piano by Bruno Heinen. This event is supported by the Rachel Corrie Foundation.
Wednesday, April 10th: a possible talk at Evergreen State College, Olympia (to be confirmed).
Friday, April 12th at 8pm, the showpiece event of the tour, a concert with her band at the Town Hall: .
Her current visit follows her highly successful residency at Seattle International Children’s Festival in May 2008. Since Reem’s last visit, she has been involved in a series of projects including:
– From Palestine to Portugal. With Fado singer Liana, Reem explored the historical links between Arabic and Fado music. Reem both composed and arranged songs which mixed Arabic and Portuguese voices, Palestinian and Portuguese poetry. To hear a sample.
– Writing and presenting of Songs for Tahrir, a documentary for BBC Radio 4 on the music of the Egyptian revolution (we were in Cairo throughout that period in early 2011): ;
– The Anti-Capitalist Roadshow, a collective of British singer-songwriters, plus Peggy Seeger, with whom Reem has toured. The collective released an album in December 2012, to which Reem contributed 2 songs. In one, she sings Song of the Olive Tree in English in a duet with Leon Rosselson, and in the second, Reem presents her powerful rendition of the Tunisian popular anthem Babour Zammar;
– Two tours to China, including performing with her band at the Asian Games in Guangzhou in Nov 2010 and at World Music Shanghai in May 2011.
Reem has also continued her research and preparations on the Egyptian composer Sayyid Darwish (1892-1923), considered by many to be the godfather of contemporary Arabic music, but little known outside the Arab world. She is hoping to complete the project by the end of 2013, and it will comprise a double album, with 12 of his short songs, a long song format of 20+ minutes in classical Egyptian style, a composition by Reem as a tribute to Darwish, and two accompanying booklets in Arabic and English, aimed at her Arab and non-Arab audiences. The booklets will include Reem’s original research, historical, musicological and linguistic, plus the lyrics of the songs, scholarly translations and a glossary.