Galilean Lullaby (Tahlileh Jaliliyyeh)

from by Reem Kelani

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I first came upon these lyrics in a book on Palestinian popular literature by Nazarene poet Tawfiq Zayyad (1929–1994). Zayyad documented various oral traditions from the Galilee, including the lyrics of this lullaby.

As with many lullabies from around the world, the lyrics are sad, even ominous. Although the final chorus asserts a positive outlook, this is not always true. No one put this better than Nablus–born British journalist Paul Foot (1937–2004) who wrote the following in his review of this song in The
Socialist Worker,1993: “Hardship can and often does go on forever, or at least for a lifetime. But what the song meant was that people cannot go on being battered forever without resisting.”


Our loved ones have left home
Gone away, without saying goodbye…
When I went by their place one morning to salute the mulberry tree,
No one was there to invite me in…
All I found was a crying bird
Regret stopped me short and pinned my feet to the thorny ground...
I sought in vain to learn what had become of them
From the houses where they once lived
Alas, my tears stained the walls of their homes…
O cameleer of the caravan!
If you come across them
Let them know that I still cry for them
Tell them my loving eyes haven’t yet closed in sleep
The good nights are gone that should have lasted forever...
Do tell our loved ones who’ve moved away,
That for anyone, hardship never lasts forever
Never lasts forever… Never lasts forever…


from Reem Kelani: Live at the Tabernacle, released March 11, 2016
Lyrics: Traditional Palestinian
Music: Reem Kelani (MCPS)

Reem Kelani - vocals
Bruno Heinen - piano
Tamer Abu Ghazaleh - 'oud
Ryan Trebilcock - double bass
Antonio Fusco - drums



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Reem Kelani London, UK

Reem Kelani is a Palestinian musician born in Britain & brought up in Kuwait. Her debut album “Sprinting Gazelle: Palestinian songs from the Motherland and the Diaspora” was released in 2006 to critical acclaim. Her next album "Reem Kelani: Live at the Tabernacle" will be released in March 2016. Reem wrote & presented “Songs for Tahrir” for BBC Radio 4 on the music of the Egyptian Revolution. ... more

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