About Rim Banna
Rim Banna (born December 8, 1966) is a Palestinian singer, composer and arranger, well-known for her modern interpretations of traditional folk songs. Banna was born in Nazareth, where she graduated from Nazareth Baptist School in 1984. She currently lives in Nazareth with her husband, the artist Leonid Alexeienko, and their three children. Artistic philosophy Banna first achieved popularity among Palestinians in the Palestinian territory which was occupied in 1948 in the early 1990s, after recording a number of Palestinian children`s songs on the verge of being forgotten. Many such songs and rhymes sung by Palestinian families again today, are said to be thanks to Rim Banna`s work in preserving them via her recordings. For Banna - whose music is composed and arranged collaboratively with her husband - music is an important tool for cultural self-assertion: "A part of our work consists of collecting traditional Palestinian texts without melodies. So that the texts do not get lost, we try to compose melodies for them that are modern, yet inspired by traditional Palestinian music." As such, Banna does not merely mimic the traditional techniques for representation of the pieces she interprets. In her view, "Oriental singing techniques are mostly ornamental â€¦ But my voice is more two-dimensional, thicker. I try to write songs that fit my voice. I want to create something new in every respect. And that includes bringing people elsewhere closer to the music and soul of the Palestinians." European audience Lullabies from the Axis of Evil Banna`s popularity in Europe began after Norwegian singer Kari Bremnes, invited her to Oslo after meeting her during a visit to Nazareth. Banna accepted the invitation, and the two artists were subsequently enlisted with others by Norwegian music producer Erik Hillestad to record the 2003 CD Lullabies from the Axis of Evil. Dubbed "a musical antiwar message to U.S. President Bush from female singers in Palestine, Iraq, Iran, and Norway,", the album brings these women together with others from North Korea, Syria, Cuba, and Afghanistan - to sing traditional lullabies from their lands in duet form with English-language performers whose translation allows the songs to reach a Western audience. Mirror of My Soul Banna`s latest album, The Mirrors of My Soul, is a stylistic departure from her previous body of work. Produced in cooperation with a European quintet, it features "Western pop stylings" fused with Middle Eastern modal and vocal structures, and Arabic lyrics. Though the style of this album differs from previous recordings, the subject matter has basically remained constant. The album includes "songs of despair and hope" about the lives of "a struggling people, and even a song about late president Arafat in a way that is both thoughtful and subtle".
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