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This is a medley of two songs. The first song is 'Il-Hamdillah' (Praise God); the second one is 'Intu Banaitu, Ihna Banaina' (You Build, We Build). For this arrangement, I use as a mantra the title of the first song ‘Il-Hamdillah’, as the musicians and I weave from the first song to the second, and back. Repetition of such a mantra is normal in Sufi Zikr (remembrance) sessions. The theme of this medley revolves around happy occasions, with references to building new homes, to hospitality and to weddings. I recorded more than
one version from women in the refugee camps in Lebanon and women from Nazareth. My own mother contributed the verse concerning red peppers.


Imhaaha stanza:
Aweeha! Thank God, my heart's patience is finally rewarded
Aweeha! And the wound of longing is healing after so much pain
Aweeha! I swear by Him who created the clear stars above
Aweeha! That I have waited endlessly for this day

Praise God that evil is no more
We planted peppers in the heat
Our foes said they wouldn't turn red
Praise God, our peppers grew and turned red

Praise God that sorrow is no more
We planted carnations in the heat
Our foes said they wouldn't bloom
Praise God, our carnations grew and bloomed

You built a room, and we built a room
Our brides are finely dressed, in the way of our fathers and forefathers
You saddled your horses, and we saddled ours
Our young men are serving coffee, in the way of our fathers and forefathers

Fill up the builder's pitcher!
You, with hands dyed in henna
It's neither in the bragging of women,
nor the boasting of our songs

You pitched a tent, and we pitched a tent
Our brides are waiting in the hall, in the way of our fathers and forefathers

Praise God we could build a house
And it's now full of newly-weds
Praise God we could build a courtyard
And we can now live in comfort
Praise God, praise God, praise God…


from Sprinting Gazelle - Palestinian songs from the Motherland and the Diaspora, released February 6, 2006
Traditional Palestinian, Arr. Reem Kelani.

Vocals: Reem Kelani
Backing vocals: Mizan Rahman, Rita Rahman, Zoe Rahman, Idris Rahman, Fariborz Kiani, Samy Bishai, Amin el-Kholy, Faris el-Kholy, Christopher Somes-Charlton & Reem Kelani
Double bass: Oli Hayhurst
Daf: Fariborz Kiani
Tar, Bandir, Derbakkeh & Karakeb: Salah Dawson Miller
Mazhar & Percussion: Reem Kelani



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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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