Palestinian singer Rim Banna is performing in MELA Festival in Oslo, the 17th of August. Banna first achieved prominence on the international stage in 2003, joining Norwegian jazz singer Kari Bremnes on the antiwar album “Lullabies from the Axis of Evil.”
Since then, Banna has become known for her updating of traditional Palestinian songs, lullabies and poetry. As she says, her music is also about memorialization:
A part of our work consists of collecting traditional Palestinian texts without melodies. So that the texts do not get lost, we try to compose melodies for them that are modern, yet inspired by traditional Palestinian music.
Rim Banna has collaborated with many artists, including Lebanese singer Ahmad Kaabour, and Iranian singer Mahsa Vahdat.
In her 2013 album, Revelation Of Ecstasy & Rebellion,
Banna chose “Arabic Mystic poems from ancient to modern times, performed in the age of rebellion” of Tunisian, Palestinian, Iraqi and Persian and Andalusian writers in the hope that the ecstatic spirit of freedom and human camaraderie will shine where the light of freedom has not shone yet.
The lyrics of her songs often come from poems by such classical Sufi or mystical poets as Ibn Arabi Ibn al Farid and Al-Hallaj, or modern Arabic poets such as Badr Shaker Al Sayyab, Mahmoud Darwish, and Rashid Hussein.
The Absent One, lyrics by Rashid Hussein
God has become a refugee, sir
So take the carpets in the mosque
And sell the church, for it is among his properties
And sell the muezzin in the black market
And turn off the bright stars, for they
Will light up the path of the wandering, the homeless