Issue No.
98, June 2006 Latest update 9 2014f August 2014, at 4.39 am
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Hada Leil

The musical ensemble Turab (Soil or Earth in Arabic) was started in 2004 by a group of seven musicians living in Palestine. Turab performs original songs based on lyrics by contemporary Palestinian poets. Hada Leil, Turab’s first CD, contains eleven songs and one instrumental piece drawing on a number of different musical styles-often simultaneously. While much of the music is derived from the classical and pop Arabic music traditions, other influences are at times overt and at other times subtle. For instance, Tafran (Broke), the tenth track on the CD, transits from verses which combine reggae with a Latin beat and a walking bass line to choruses which are purely Arab pop. The group uses a combination of Arabic and other instruments including the ‘oud, bazouq, guitar, string bass, clarinet, nay, accordion and percussion from the Arab tradition, Iran, Africa and Latin America. The music of Hada Leil is directly informed by the lyrics written by five poets. The poems that form the basis of the songs deal with topics of freedom, occupation, poverty and love. Some of the poetry and accompanying music were written during (and in reaction to) the Israeli invasion of Palestinian cities in 2002. For instance, the words of Hada Leil, the title track, were read to the composer, Basel Zayed, by the poet, Samer El-Salhy, with the last of his cell phone battery during the invasion of Ramallah when the city had no electricity or water. The poet, Mahmoud Abu Hash-hash, wrote the following about Turab’s Hada Leil: “This is a performance that moves with vigour and artistry between the surface and depth. On the one side is a vital frankness, a straightforward musical language disengaged from symbols and codes, whose very clarity mocks at a reality preoccupied with reproducing itself and the tools of its misery. On the other is an inherent poetry, burdened by its humanity, whose existential cry is both universal and uniquely Palestinian. “Its Palestinian essence-and its youthfulness-pervades its lyrics, melody and performance. This is a work that is firmly rooted in its cultural and political contexts, Palestinian and Arab, aware of its surroundings and attentive of their issues. It draws on a distinguished tradition of political and social music, yet hits a unique note all of its own. In so doing, its distinctive voice adds to that rich legacy." Turab will be performing pieces from Hada Leil as well as new material at the Ramallah Cultural Palace on June 3rd at 19:30 hours. Tickets are available at Zeit ou Zaatar (tel. 02-295 4455). For more information visit

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