Kamilya Jubran
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Kamilya Jubran


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"Notes of Palestinian resistance"

Kamilya Jubran performs after three-year absence from local stages

Palestinian singer Kamilya Jubran will be performing tonight at Al Azhar Park’s Geneina Theater following a three-year absence from Egypt.

Jubran was born in Akka, Israel to Palestinian parents from a northern Palestinian village in Al-Jaleel. Elias Jubran, Kamilya's father — an authentic instrument maker and a music teacher — was her first source of classical Arabic music education. For 20 years in Jerusalem, Kamilya was lead singer of Sabreen (a Palestinian musical group), and she played the oud, qanoon and other oriental instruments.

From 1982 to 2002, Sabreen represented the voice of resistance; the struggle for freedom as well as a deep, dynamic artistic-political process that created a new style of modern Arabic song. Since May 2002, Kamilya has been touring several Arab and European cities, including Cairo.

Kamilya is creating and performing her own songs and music while roaming non-commercial milieus with a number of European musicians.

“My questioning multiplies and intensifies about the components, the atmosphere, and the role of the Arabic song. In this show, I present songs I worked on for the past three years in an attempt to share the questioning and to keep it alive,” she writes on her website.
Published: July 18, 2007 - The Daily Star Egypt

"The odd pair"

Rania Khallaf found Kamilya Jubran with Werner Hasler simply marvellous

At 9pm sharp, Kamilya Jubran and Werner Hasler appeared on stage at Al-Azhar Park's Geneina Theatre. Jubran wore a black dress with no make-up whatsoever; and in the faint light she gave a strange impression -- as if in watching her, you have moved into your own grave. This may sound like a gloomy description but it really refers to a sense of the soul being at rest, the mind relaxed and the body free to sway. Life and death, along with nostalgia, grief and joy, all coexist in Jubran's songs.

Born in Akka in 1963, Jubran, by now internationally renowned as singer and oud player, learned classical Arabic music from her father, Elias Jubran, one of a handful of genuine oud makers in the Arab world today. As the lead singer of the Palestinian band Sabreen for 20 years, she was hailed as the voice of resistance -- making the present performance, Wameedd, a seemingly contradictory move. "I was born in a land of amazing contradiction," she laughs. "Maybe it's okay if I add a little contradiction of my own. In the late 1990s, I worked with hip hop bands in France, which made me interested in other music and different sounds. I tried to figure out why I was attracted to them," she now responds to the astonishment on my face.

Wameedd was the result. An ongoing project begun in 2002 in collaboration with the Swiss musician, it comprises a unique experiment in mixing Oriental melody with electronic sound. "This kind of music gives me a chance to rethink my roots from a different viewpoint," Jubran goes on. It was in 2002 that Jubran moved to France to produce her first solo album, where she also received a Pro Helvetia residency in Switzerland. She has been presenting work in Europe and the United States since. Is she in a better situation? "There is no such thing for me. I am never in a good situation whether professionally or in human terms. But the experience I got from working with Sabreen still lives inside me, and it's still maturing. I had many questions then and now I just have more questions." Certainly, performing under occupation cannot have been an easy choice. "Of course, we suffered greatly from lack of freedom. To survive in those conditions is a miracle that occurs every day; we had to surpass many obstacles, it was a daily fight, having to live in a big prison."

For his part Hasler, 38, quietly dismissed the notion that his collaboration with Jubran might be a kind of East- West exchange or intercultural encounter. "The cultural aspect of our meeting is not the core issue. What counts is the personal aspect: the way we met, and worked together; our deliberate thinking of personal issues, etc. Of course, there are musical questions, history is being questioned too, but there is no Eastern or Western culture, there are things that overlap. Already, in a small country like Switzerland, the traditional music is different from my own music as a Swiss musician." Jubran elaborated: "What I like in Hasler is his own research and his own way of musical treatment through his machines. He truly and always attempts to find new, challenging solutions. So, contradiction, as you can see, is not a barrier." For Wameedd Jubran chose a very eclectic miscellany of Arabic poetry: the Lebanese poet Paul Shaoul, for example, who deals with the Lebanese civil war; the Iraqi poet Fadel Al-Azzawi; all males except for Aicha Al-Arna'aouty, a Paris-based Syrian and, according to Jubran, "one of very few distinguished female voices on the cultural scene". She sings, but you listen to her screaming. She seems to weep out the phrases, bringing the words out of the deepest point in her frame, and swaying ferociously while she does so. With little background on Arabic music, Hasler is absorbed in adjusting his electronic machinery (connected to a laptop before him).

While Jubran is singing, silence prevails. I turn to the next seat to find two Japanese young women, among many other foreigners, in deep concentration. Jubran squeezes her neck, goose-like. So spontaneous is the performance that one tends to believe they are improvising. In fact everything is precisely planned. "There is a structure for every song," Jubran says. "We spend hours together, rehearsing the development of each song, how it starts, progresses, and ends. We work on all the details until we have reached a rhythm." The audience's reaction is impressive indeed, and Jubran says she usually has a warm reception, "though for different reasons". She does not have access to many Arab countries and insists that she does not sing for anyone in particular: "Whenever there is an opportunity, I go and sing." The graph of Arab singing is on a downward curve, she agrees. "And it is because we are somehow trapped between our dreams and our situation as Arabs. The rate of our frustration is really high. I can not read this differently." She does not like to talk about her homeland all that - Al-Ahram Weekly





Kamilya Jubran is born in Akka in 1963 in the State of Israel, to Palestinian parents who are from a northern Palestinian village Rameh in Galilee. Elias Jubran, Kamilya's father, an authentic instrument maker and a music teacher; was her first source of classical Arabic musical education. In Jerusalem and for twenty years(1982-2002), Kamilya was Sabreen’s lead song performer, and player of Qanoon, and other oriental instruments. Kamilya along with Sabreen represented the voice of resistance; struggle for freedom, and of a deep and dynamic artistic-political process that created a new style of a unique modern Arabic song. Since May 2002, Kamilya intensified her visits to Europe, Especially to Bern and Paris.. She toured with her first individual creation Mahattaat 2002-2003, then currently with Wameedd, and her Solo Show in several Arab and European cities.

November 2007 –
Makan - A solo show that was presented firstly as work – in – progress, at Schlachthaus Theatre-Bern , on March 30, 2007, and is actually having its premiere tour in 5 different Arab and European cities, within the Meeting Points 5 Contemporary Arts Festival.

August 2002-Current Solo

“My questioning multiplies and intensifies about the components, the atmosphere, and the role of the Arabic song. In this show, I present songs I worked on the past three years, in an attempt to share the questioning and to keep it alive.”

April 2004-Current Wameedd
Wameedd is the result of the dynamic and symbiotic creative process of Kamilya Jubran and Werner Hasler. Wameedd is the product of Kamilya's unique vocal skill and limitless imagination, Arabic words and phonemic rhythms are wrapped in her original compositions. Wameedd is found in the roots of Werner's "vocal instrument," his melodies and his unique talents in electronic music.
Other Projects
January 2004 – Jan 2007 realising a Film Project « Telling Strings » for the Swiss TV, with the filmmaker Anne Marie Haller.