Thursday, January 15, 2009

video of reem kelani singing darwish's 'mawwal: variations on loss'

YouTube video of Palestinian singer and musician Reem Kelani performing her setting of Mahmoud Darwish's 'Mawwaal: Variations on Loss', a track on her debut CD Sprinting Gazelle.
Reem's website is at:

from the sleevenotes:

Sprinting Gazelle – track 5
Mawwaal - Variations on Loss
Poetry: Mahmoud Darwish, Music: Reem Kelani

"I wrote the music to this poem in 1992 for a BBC Everyman documentary called ‘See no Evil’ on the tenth anniversary of the massacre in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut. The Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish (born in 1942 in the now depopulated village of Birweh, near Acre) wrote the original poem in 1967 to convey the Palestinian sense of loss at the time.

"In this poem, Darwish borrows the chorus line from Palestinian folklore, thus juxtaposing colloquial Palestinian with the classical Arabic of the main verses. Each time the chorus is performed on this rendition, it is done with a different variation. This is reflected in the English subtitle of this song."

I lost a beautiful dream
I lost the lilies’ sting
My night has been long
stretched over the garden walls
But I have not lost the way

My palm has grown accustomed
to my wounded hopes
Shake my hands with vigour
and passion, a river of songs will flow
O Guide of my colt and my sword

O Mother! I can endure the
daggers’ stabbing
But not the rule of a coward

Your hands hover over my
Forehead, like two glorious crowns
If ever I should bend, a hill shall
Bow, and a sky will be lost
Then I am no longer worthy
Of a kiss or a prayer
And the door will be slammed
In my face

They asked: do you love the beautiful
Woman? I replied: My love is worship
Her hair is lavish and abundant
Her breast the dearest pillow
Wedding her is a sign of valour

Variation II
O Mother! I can endure the
Daggers’ stabbing
But not the rule of a coward!

The children of tomorrow
Pray in your hands
And my own child
Says: “my days will brighten”
For you are my sun and my shelter

I defend the roses
In yearning for your lips
I defend the sand in the streets
Fearful for your feet
And I defend my right to defend
My right
I defend my right to defend my right

Variation III
O Mother! I can endure the
Daggers’ stabbing
But not the rule of a coward