Thursday, February 07, 2019

Palestinian singer Reem's Kelani's EP 'Why Do I Love Her?' released to critical acclaim

Reem Kelani's EP: Why Do I Love Her?

press release from: 
The Miktab Limited
PO Box 31652
London W11 2YF

Palestinian singer and musician Reem Kelani’s digital EP Why Do I Love Her? saw its commercial release on 1 February 2019. It comprises four tracks:

- "Last Night, O Saud", a love song from Kuwait, from Reem’s formative years there;

- "Going up the Mountain", a traditional Palestinian song from the Galilee, which Reem has already been busy introducing to school and community choirs across the UK;

- “Why Do I Love Her?” The title track of the EP, Reem wrote the lyrics and music of this song to describe her anguished love for Palestine;

- "Mama Don’t Allow", an American blues number Reem used to sing to her mother, rendered in her unique fashion as an Arabic jazz singer, and influenced by her father’s fascination for the American songbook.

The songs were recorded live by Gurjit Dhinsa at the Tabernacle as part of Nour Festival on 12 October 2016: Reem was joined in the concert by  her trusty trio of Bruno Heinen (piano), Ryan Trebilcock (double bass) and Antonio Fusco (drums).The tracks were subsequently  mixed by Steve Lowe and Reem.

The EP can be bought via  here  [ ]

Meanwhile, work continues apace on Reem's next album This Land is Your Land, and on her long-term research on the Egyptian composer Sayyid Darwish (albeit hostage to the political situation in Egypt and to financing).

As Reem writes in her notes to the EP:

"In October 2016, I performed with my wonderful band at the Tabernacle in London for a second time as part of the Nour Festival of Arts, copromoted by Arts Canteen.

"The concert afforded the opportunity for the launch of my second album Live at the Tabernacle (Fuse Records, 2016). We also decided to record the gig for good measure, and I am proud to present this digital EP, comprising four songs from that memorable evening.

"The songs, which have never been released before, range from a Kuwaiti love song that I learnt as a child, to a subversive traditional Palestinian song from the Galilee, a self-penned title track about my anguished love for Palestine, and a blues number that I always sang for my late mother.
In short, these four songs constitute an autobiographical roundtrip between East, West and in between!

"Enjoy this bipolar journey, as much as the band and I enjoyed our travels on the night.
Thank You, Shukran!"

What the critics say:

"Reem Kelani is a powerhouse of a performer, with a voice conveying a rare depth of passion and emotion. This is complemented by her abilities as an arranger that enable her to combine the musical traditions of two cultures almost seamlessly. Although "Why Do I Love Her" comprises a mere four songs, it is the perfect introduction to this great singer and will leave you eagerly awaiting her next release." Richard Marcus, Qantara / Deutsche Welle, 4 February 2019

"Throughout her work, [Reem Kelani] is looking for a musical blend which gives a voice to the Palestinians, the sound of pain and of the Diaspora. In everything she says, the theme of Palestinian agony is expressed in the form of multiple identities, or as Edward Said put it ‘out of place’, and this is what Kelani evokes musically in a global context." [trans.] Jamal Hassan, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Qatar, 28 January 2019

"Reem has focused on the traditional, as she is known to do, but she hasn’t limited herself to Palestinian folklore... Reem also chose a Kuwaiti song made famous by the two most influential singers in the history of the Kuwaiti song."
[trans.] Hazgui Haikel, Ma3azef online music magazine, 27 January 2019

"Reem Kelani’s style is unique – she mimics no-one. Her musical project is based on the traditional, both in form and in presentation; it also encompasses dramatic expression, but without gratuitous vocal gymnastics. She is a Palestinian artist, whose songs celebrate her heritage, whilst simultaneously acknowledging and conversing with other musical cultures." [trans.] Saleh Elghazy, Al-Qabas, Kuwait, 17 January 2019

"Reem Kelani's new EP is a lovely thing which isn’t getting the attention it undoubtedly deserves. Please do yourself a favour and give it a listen." Jamie Renton, EP featured in Jamie’s Mixcloud selection ‘Bollocks to the Bigots - Funky Sounds for Open Minds’, 13 January 2019

Media details

EP Title
Why do I Love Her?

Record Label
Fuse Records

Reem Kelani

EP Booklet Design
Nora Gazzar

Promo Video
Walid Al Wawi

Proper Music Distribution

Commercial Release Date
1 February 2019

For press interview, photographs & further information
Chris Somes-Charlton

Reem Kelani Online

Facebook: Reem Kelani
Twitter: ReemKelani
Instagram: reemkelani1948

The Miktab Limited
PO Box 31652
London W11 2YF

posted by Susannah Tarbush, London

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