A terrific artist who has recently appeared on our radar is Palestinian indie singer Terez Sliman. An exceptional voice and talent which she puts to use in a variety of ways, through her solo work or in plays, or with accomplished Portuguese musicians as part of the project Mina WorldMusic.
Qasida Fi Zujaja (Poem in a Bottle) from the 2013 Palestinian production Al-Taghreeba (The Exodus), which commemorated the Palestinian Nakba of 1948, is a shining example of how the Haifa-born vocalist applies her talents to a wide range of productions.
With collaborators such as Yazan Ibraheem, Sliman also performs musical pieces inspired by the works of Arab poets. A highlight of this usage is Salat (Prayer), with words taken from ‘A History Torn Apart in the Body of a Woman’ by famed Syrian poet Adonis.
Sliman teamed up with Portuguese singer Sofia Portugal and instrumentalists Rui Ferreira, Hélder Costa and André Oliveira to form Mina, a charming jazz-centric project that cleverly reworks traditional Arab folk music. Their first track was Betti Sahranah a song originating from the Northern Tunisian city of Al-Kaf.
Their second release, Ashtata takes its inspiration from a Moroccan children’s song which later became imbued with political significance. What was a joyful ditty about Ploughmen’s children was later reworked by Paris-based group Handala to cast light on a critical period in the eighties, when Moroccan farmers faced dire economic conditions that coincided with the implementation of an IMF-imposed structural reform program.