Reflections of Palestine

Palestinian musician Ramzi Aburedwan was born and raised in a cramped, poverty-stricken refugee camp in Ramallah in the West Bank. As an 8-year-old, he was famously photographed getting ready to throw a rock at an Israeli tank. He started playing the viola as a teen, after an opportunity of free music lessons revealed his potential. After studying music in France, Aburedwan returned home to teach others to play, and he currently runs a number of music schools that teach both Arabic and European classical music. On Reflections of Palestine, Aburedwan plays the bouzouk, a long-necked lute that is a relative of the Greek bouzouki, and he is accompanied by accordion, oud, clarinet and percussion. The collection of 10 songs—both originals and arrangements of others’ works—is mesmerizing. “Rahil,” the album’s opener ("Rahil” translates as “Exile"), is a solemnly beautiful piece showcasing the heartfelt musical interplay between Aburedwan and accordionist Mohammed Al Qutati. The next song, “Sans Adresse” (French for “without an address"), is almost equally contemplative. The spirited “Tahrir” ("Liberation") is based on an improvised piece Aburedwan first played for his younger cousin Tahrir, who now plays the violin due to his positive influence.