Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Audio clips from Singing for Gaza…against Oblivion

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Audio clips from Singing for Gaza…against Oblivion

The genocidal war on Gaza limited the flow of the mainstream Arab singing scene; Several artists announced the cancellation of their concerts. Occupy stopped the wheel of music production to produce songs with themes of Palestine and resistance, for accounts linked to solidarity or the market. Every Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people represents a war on memory. A war that seeks to destroy words, names and faces. In this context, we wonder: Has the Arabic song come to represent the Palestinian cause, with the scale of the present moment?

The Israeli occupation has turned Gaza into the world’s largest “open-air prison,” with more than two million citizens awaiting death or brutality. What did the released songs say? Have you tried speaking out against oblivion? Whether these songs support Palestinian resistance and freedom, or depict the memory of crime, or release the pain of innocent children and civilians.

First question: Where is the conscience of the world? How did the talk of human rights disappear in Palestine? More than one song has attempted to ask this question. One of the most prominent of these songs is “O Manasatschiye” by two young women, Aliya Sofi and Waad. The song has no significant significance except that it was composed by Aziz Shafi, an Egyptian. Apart from that, there is no artistic depth or poetic expression in this song. She came up with superficial words and exhausted melodies.

The song “Return” is almost the most important and famous piece of music released in support of Gaza. It got a huge audience. The song represents new voices with the participation of 25 Arab artists, notably Amir Eid, Marwan Pablo, Khalia Shaker and Nordo. It is noteworthy that all represent a large part of the Arab map, from the Middle East and North Africa and from the Maghreb through Egypt, Sudan and the Levant and the Gulf states.


The song tried to express itself directly, with casual content, covering various topics on the Palestinian issue and current events. The text has more than one content, starting with the topic of suffering, killing and displacement.

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The singing begins with the use of electronics and sound effects, and begins with a strangled sound, nothing more than a perfect fusion with synthetic, automated singing, so that the vocals that do not avoid effects become clear. Some tracks have the role of effects as a substitute for melodic expression.
The operetta features different dialects of the Arab world, with passages of eloquent song. There is more than one political statement, either criticizing the Western position and its racism, or directly criticizing the failed Arab leaders in the Gaza Strip.

Trends in youth participation in singing include various forms of alternative and mainstream singing. In pop and rap, folk and popular, we see anthemic songs filled with sadness, the sharpness of defiant vocals, as well as melodies laced with illusion. The work sounds like a cocktail, combining various melodic passages as if served at a party. More than one mood is created; Slow, fast, hard and soft. These quick, luminous pieces are united by a Palestinian theme, not melodic or dramatic structure.

The work may be more concerned with the visual aspect than with the melodic structure, suggesting improvisation, although it is characterized by a fair degree of coordination that includes some melodic movement. The song ends with the words of a song by artist Samih Shukhair, “If my voice leaves, your throats won’t leave”, but with a different melody from Palestinian folklore. It is noteworthy that the new generation is very much at the forefront of singing for Gaza, in contrast to mainstream stars who are content to express solidarity positions.

In turn, Ahmad Saad presented a song entitled “Olive Branch”, composed by Magham al-Qurdil Muhammadi. The song comes with a blend of popular Egyptian drama songs. But the tone of painful emotion tries to emphasize the impact of the tragedy and the right to return to Palestine. Same theme taken from our Arab culture.

There is another element in the current singing scene about Palestine that is intertwined with political reality as a question of conscience and justice. “Answer, people, where is the conscience?” culminates in, and then comes the relief that “occupation, however long victory lasts, is destiny.”

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In this context, we see an artist named Muhammad Atawiah more connected to a popular song compared to Saad, like the song “Land of Gaza” he released last month in support of the Palestinians.

Composers follow this prevailing identity. But unlike Aziz Shafie, who provided the melody to two unknown artists, Egyptian composer Mohammed Rahim provided, from his songs and melodies, “the story man.”
We will see the Palestinian cause sing without features, like a dull Arab reality represented by the political position. This is what the prevailing tunes reflect, whether with lesser-known artists, or with more famous ones, from Diana Garazón to Hamza Namira.

The latter delivered a message addressing the occupation, “The Name is Egypt,” which included a warning on behalf of the Egyptian people. That is, there is an Egyptian people facing Israel. It implicitly confirms that the majority of the Egyptian people stand with their brothers in Palestine. However, the melody represents a dull emotional statement, nothing more.

This song corresponds to the heroic people and popular among other names. They are expressions that reflect the suffering, pain and misery faced by the citizens of Gaza. Thousands of children and civilians die and are horrified daily by Israel’s carnage. The song reflects a state of sympathy and pain intertwined with a supportive stance for resistance, pleading for its success and determination.

Singing for Palestine today is not independent of trending. Its melodies are not dissimilar from pop and popular song, and also apply to alternative trends such as rap and festivals. On the other hand, most musical works about Gaza and Palestine represent a race for record audiences. She is often rushed and improvisational, which makes her lose her features.

Does it have anything to do with the fact that we live in a visual age where scenes of daily carnage drown out the melody, and those voices talking about the lack of basic needs like water and food? Medicine, and fuel? Thus, in terms of melody and theme, we don’t find songs that showcase some of its worth.

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However, the Arabic song asserts its presence in the memory war. Singing about Palestine will not stop, and if the official song disappears, it will be on more than one alternate track. If not for his singing professionals, he would be missed by fans of Arab clubs. Don’t forget the song “Palestinian Rajavi” sung by Raja fans in Morocco in solidarity with Gaza in 2019.

On the other hand, we are witnessing an era where certain policies are working to silence the voice of Palestine. It’s not just a matter of running the season in Riyadh and keeping the entertainment going, as if what’s happening in Gaza is secondary. But Riyadh is apologizing for participating in the off-season events, inciting against those who declare their solidarity with the events in Gaza.

Likewise, when Gaza was facing one of its worst massacres, the Kingdom was eager to host a concert titled “The Night of the Martyr Hamdi.” Paradoxically, it was Baliq Hamdi who led the patriotic and nationalistic song associated with Palestine into the popular and mainstream, which he started with “Long live the speaker” after the October 1973 hit. Dance sentences mixed with the subject matter.

The artists’ stance represents part of the resurgence of the issue. The forms of punishment that some Arab regimes have identified to limit and silence these voices may be worldwide. But at the end of last October, we will see the young artist Vicks in the middle of a movie theater in Canada, chanting with her fans in support of Gaza. It also documents his participation in a demonstration in New York in solidarity with Palestine.

But to sing about the scale of the problem and the suffering of the Palestinians requires a different aspect. Perhaps there is a need for a musical art that is more focused on the Palestinian reality, away from popular and consumerist styles. The song portrays an image of Arab political and social decline

Pandora Bacchus
Pandora Bacchus
"Coffee evangelist. Alcohol fanatic. Hardcore creator. Infuriatingly humble zombie ninja. Writer. Introvert. Music fanatic."

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