10 Palestinian Musicians To Learn About
Kamilya Jubran (born 1962)
Jubran grew up in the north of Israel and was born into a musical family. Her father Elias Jubran is a well respected musician and oud maker who started to study music after hearing his neighbour play in 1954. Jubran herself is an oud and qanun player, and joined the group Sabreen as a lead singer in 1982. In 2013, she featured on a song called Multi_Viral with the Puerto Rican hip hop band called Calle 13 and Julian Assange (yes that Julian Assange). She has recorded four albums with Sabreen, and five more solo albums, collaborating with musicians such as Werner Hasler and Sarah Murcia. She is currently the artistic director of a nonprofit called Zamkana which encourages 'innovative artistic projects, respecting freedom of expression and secularism' (KamilyaJubran.com).
Mohsen Subhi (1963-2009)
Subhi was a performer, composer and arranger of Palestinian music. After emigrating to the USA, he studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, performing on the oud which was his main instrument. He was also a great percussionist, and incorporated rhythms from different cultures into his music.
He was well known for his film scores including The Inner Tour (2001), The Imaginary Village (2004) and Salt of this Sea (2008). Unfortunately, he died in an accident in 2009 soon after being granted the funds to record his second album.
Reem Kelani (born 1963)
Kelani was born in Machester, England and had a strong musical upbringing, listening to a lot of jazz music her father played in the home. After visiting Nazareth for a family wedding, her passion was ignited for Palestinian music. She graduated from Kuwait University with a degree in biology in 1986, and performed whilst in Kuwait, fusing jazz with traditional Palestinian music. Her first album was called Sprinting Gazelle - Palestinian Songs from the Motherland and Diaspora (2006) and she has since performed across the Middle East, Europe, Asia and North America. She has worked with many musicians from around the world, and often appears on BBC Radio as a presenter, including writing a program on different UK migrant communities called Distant Chords (2001-2003).
Reem Kelani on Spotify
Rim Banna (1966-2018)
Banna was a singer, composer and arranger born in Nazareth. She started her career by recording traditional Palestinian children's songs in the early 1990s. Her music contained many messages about the suffering of many Palestinans, but also sought to preserve traditional Palestinian texts and poetry by composing melodies for them. She collaborated on a CD in 2004 called Lullabies from the Axis of Evil which brought together lullabies sung by women from Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Iraq and other countries. She released seven solo albums and performed in various countries, including a fundraising concert in Aligarh, India to support a charity that houses street children. Tragically, she passed away from a long battle with cancer in 2018.
Rim Banna on Spotify
Nasri Atweh (born 1981)
Nasri is of Palestinian heritage and was born in Toronto, Canada. Since the age of 6, he has been singing, writing songs and playing the guitar. He started to become well known, won competitions and signed with Universal Canada when he was 19. He is a prolific songwriter and producer, and formed a duo with Adam Messinger called the Messengers. They have written songs for superstars including Justin Bieber, Akon, Christina Aguilera and David Guetta. They have won multiple awards including Grammy and Latin Grammy awards in 2012, 2017 and 2018. He joined the group Magic! in 2012 and reached #1 on the US, UK and Canadian charts with the hit song 'Rude'.