Camelia Gibran: A Look At One Of Palestine’s Bona Fide Singers Of The Emancipation Movement

Performed poetry of acclaimed Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, and was part of the Palestinian Sabreene Ensemble. The 61-year-old Camelia Gibran is one of the oldest Palestinian singers who took on the responsibility of voicing bitter-sweet Palestine through her songs. As the vocalist, oudist, and zither player of the Sabreene band, she along with the band members represented the voice of the revolution and emancipation for freedom for decades.

Gibran’s music is credited nationally and worldwide. She performs the lyrics of lyrical giants from the Arab world such as Talal Haider, Sayed Hegab, and Hussein Barghouti. Many of her first albums were composed by the renowned musician Saeed Mourad.

In 1987, the band founded the Sabreen Association for Artistic Development as a non-profit community organization specializing in promoting music in Palestine and integrating it with various other forms and styles of artistic expression.

Sabreen Band contributed to introducing the trend of committed music to Palestine, the same trend that was distinguished by the music of Sheikh Imam and Ahmed Fouad Negm in Egypt, and the music of Marcel Khalife and Ziad Rahbani in Lebanon. The band performed songs by prominent Palestinian and Arab poets such as Mahmoud Darwish, Samih Al-Qasim, Hussein Barghouti, and Fadwa Touqan.

One of her most famous songs was taken from “On Man” poem by Darwish:

They gagged his mouth,
Bound his hands to the rock of the dead
And said: Murderer!
They took his food, clothes and banners,
Cast him into the condemned cell
And said: Thief!
They drove him away from every port,
Took his young sweetheart,
Then said: Refugee!

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