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Rashid Husain (1936-1977) was born near Haifa, but died in a fire in his flat whilst in exile in New York. His poetry always gives me a cathartic sense of melancholy, despite the apparent pain and frustration. Husain always viewed Diaspora Palestinians like himself as refugees, whether or not they actually lived in refugee camps. His uncompromising stance on this point pervades much of his poetry.

The Arabic title translates literally as 'Thoughts and Echoes', but I chose the English title above to reflect my own yearning, and probably that of Husain, for freedom from our personal and collective sense of siege.

This song is dedicated to the French singer Barbara (1930-1997), whose music taught me to turn anger into inner peace.


The sky cried in rain, giving solace to the burnt-out man;
It made him more impassioned.

Can one drowning in the open sea ask for a helping hand from the sky?
Does he want rain to freeze his body and add to his torments?

No! I ask the sky. Stop your tears!

This broken-hearted man is at the end of his tether…
This broken-hearted man is at the end of his tether.


from Sprinting Gazelle - Palestinian songs from the Motherland and the Diaspora, released February 6, 2006
Poetry: Rashid Husain
Music: Reem Kelani.

Vocals: Reem Kelani
Piano: Zoe Rahman
Violin: Samy Bishai
Double Bass: Oli Hayhurst



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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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