Songs that mimic Palestinian life at the beginning of the last century

Perennial Palestinian women pass on the pre-Nakba heritage to their grandchildren

  • The perennial country teaches its grandchildren the customs of the heritage of its homeland.

    Emirates today

  • Recording an album of 8 songs for weddings before the Nakba.

    Emirates today

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“Oh, my mother, my mother, my obeisance,” fill for me, and “my pillows,” the pillow, and “I came out of the house and didn’t say goodbye to my sisters,” my sisters, are phrases derived from traditional chants that were used by the eighties, Umm Mustafa Doula, with her family on wedding nights, inside the homes of the city. The deserted coastal Jaffa, and its ancient alleys, so that these words and hundreds of their likenesses remain engraved in the memory of the Palestinian perennial, and the years of displacement that spanned over many years, since the beginning of the last century, have not been forgotten.

Today, 73 years after the catastrophe of displacement and displacement, the tales of the night of life and night sessions have turned into songs that were chanted by Palestinian grandmothers in the company of grandchildren, to the rhythm of traditional musical melodies.

The 88-year-old woman, Dolah, participated in the production and filming of a clip entitled “Zeina Al-Buldan”, sung by Palestinian child Jasser Al-Hamami, and contributed to the production of illustrated artworks on the customs and traditions of the Palestinian heritage before the Nakba, inside the “Beit” restaurant. Siti” in the center of Gaza City, which was an old archaeological house, and became a restaurant rich with the memory of history and civilization.

Hajja (Umm Mustafa) told "Emirates Today": "Since I was 14, I shared with my mother and sisters all the joys and occasions of the residents of the Ajami neighborhood in Jaffa, and we spent the night hours chanting the most beautiful words and songs, as all the women of the neighborhood met permanently in One of the houses, so that we can chant the words and songs of the late night and stay up late.”

She adds: "These words remained engraved in my memory and I will never forget them, and I repeat them continuously in all the engagement and wedding parties for all our family members, and this is a source of happiness for me, as the songs that my mother used to recite today are preserved by my grandchildren."

Heritage album

In a similar case and in the same vein, and in an attempt to preserve the Palestinian cultural heritage from extinction, the long-lived Palestinian women, who were expelled from their lands in the Nakba in 1948, contributed to documenting Palestinian life throughout the ages, through a heritage album recently launched from the city of Deir al-Balah in the Gaza Strip.

The album bears the title “Daba Ya My Heart Daba”, which is the beginning of a Palestinian heritage song, and includes alongside it seven traditional songs, including “Ma Prido”, “Nahura” and “Saff of the Prairie”, all of which embody the heritage of the refugee people in their homeland. Its customs and traditions simulate the ancient Palestinian life stories at the beginning of the last century.

In the past, the song “Daba Ya Qalbi” was chanted during the nights of Hanna, the mother of the groom, where women gather from every nook and cranny to chant its words in a purely traditional atmosphere.

As for the song “Saf al-Barari”, it is famous for the city of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, the birthplace of the heritage lyrical album. In two equal rows, hands intertwine on the shoulders, and they exchange roles by singing the verses in succession, so that the women in the second opposite row respond and chant the verses, and perform them all night until dawn, because of the many verses sung, and their performance is permeated with laughter and great energy of joy.

Heritage protection efforts

The album “Daba Ya My Heart” was produced from the memory of the Muammarat, which was supervised by a youth group hosted by the “Nawa Association for Culture and Heritage” in the city of Deir al-Balah, in coordination with local Palestinian and European institutions.

For three consecutive years, the “Nawa Association” worked to collect and document the lyrics of the songs in an oral style, and compiled them from elderly centenarians, in a step to protect the ancestral heritage from extinction, according to the director of the Nawa Association for Culture and Arts, Reem Abu Jaber.

Abu Jaber explains that the album is absolutely folkloric, as it presents a selection of ancient Palestinian wedding songs, especially before the Nakba, which embodies the heritage, customs and traditions of the Gaza Strip in general, and the city of Deir al-Balah in particular, with its rich historical heritage of cultural and societal diversity. Over time, influenced by its cultural and geographical surroundings.

The director of the “Nawa Association” explains the mechanism of producing the heritage lyrical album, as the association formed a youth team, which included eight young men and girls, whose mission was to trace the oral and heritage history of long-lived women in the Gaza Strip, in order to collect and document the words of heritage songs.

Abu Jaber continues by saying: "The youth team met dozens of women of the first generation, who remembered the customs and traditions of our Palestinian people on occasions and weddings, despite their advancing age. All these words of songs were recorded, which were directly transmitted from the tongue of the Palestinian women."

She adds that "a large group of lyrics of traditional songs collected by the youth team from the memory of the females, required many researches, in order to reach their roots and meanings, and then collect them and arrange their context, especially since many of them date back to the Ottoman era in Palestine."

The album “Daba, my heart,” according to Abu Jaber, is the first artwork on the level of the ancient Palestinian heritage, and the preservation of songs associated with past decades, especially since these songs were also produced in the form of video clips, to receive a wider spread among successive generations, in order to protect this historical heritage. from extinction.

A large group of lyrics of traditional songs collected by the youth team from the memory of the females, required many researches, in order to reach their roots and meanings, and then collect them and arrange their context, especially since many of them date back to the Ottoman era in Palestine.

• Al-Maamra Dolla, aged 88, participated in the production and filming of a lyrical clip entitled “Zeina Al-Buldan” during the past year, sung by Palestinian child Jasser Al-Hamami. She also contributed to the production of illustrated artworks on the customs and traditions of the Palestinian heritage before the Nakba.

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Keywords: palestinian, chants, sisters, heritage, mother, house, homes, umm mustafa doula, family, eighties, pillow, women, songs, zeina al-buldan, life