Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Marcel and Darwish
Marcel Khaliefeh, the Lebanese singer, on Mahmoud Darwish's poetry:
لشعر محمود درويش مذاق خاص، فهو مرتبط بذلك العالم المسور بالدمار وأمل القيامة الأخضر وفي شعره دعوة منعشة إلى الحياة. قصائد درويش بشوشة وفرحة كالنهار الذي ننتظر قدومه ومليئة بالأمل كالساعة التي لم نعشها بعد.
والحزن الواضح النبرة أحياناً خلق صلة بشرية حميمة وتعاطفاً إنسانياً بالأشياء والرموز. مع شعر محمود درويش تعرفت على نفسي كفرد لي أهوائي ونوازعي ووساوسي وحاجاتي الملحة للحرية وللخبز وللورد ولقول الأنا دون خجل.
محمود درويش يحفر الصخر بأظافره حتى الوجع الوحشي كي يجد القصيدة الطازجة دائماً.
He goes on to say that "Darwish's poetry was written so I can sing it." We will let this narcissitic moment pass since some of Marcel's most beautiful songs are poems written by Darwish. "Ommi," "Rita," "Yusuf" (which landed him in Lebanese court for blasphemy" and "Promises from the Storm" are among the most well known.
I don't listen to Marcel often these days: some of his songs have painful associations and also I think I overdosed on him growing up in the West Bank. There was a time when I only listened to him and Fairuz. I mean only and always. He was everywhere I went: street, bus, university cafeteria, hairdresser, and rallies. But never on TV or Radio. He was the ever absent present.
I got a few chances to see him in concert in the US: these were awsome events, when we came alive for a couple of hours. I also attended his "Jadal" concert, when he only played Oud and wanted the audience to sit and listen quietly and politely. We sat and listened and were quiet and polite. It was a different kind of event, and emotionally the earlier rowdy concerts were more memorable. Marcel is a good teacher: I translated for him when he gave a talk to Music students at Boston. He also has a good sense of humor.