I grew up around grandparents and uncles who had some of the most beautiful singing voices- they sang Atabaa, traditional Arabic songs typically sung at weddings and other festive occasions, at almost every family gathering.
Around the dining table during winter cold evenings, there would always be at least two singing verses of poems being recited - each followed by a loud “ouf” sign of relief of having succeeded the verse.
I was 11 years old when my grandmother passed away. Years later in 2017, a little recorded cassette of hers fell onto my lap. Little did I know that the recording was addressed to her two sons, who had left Lebanon at the same time many years ago. The “Atabaa” poems she sang for her sons, that I was now listening to on this cassette, were so filled with emotions that I remember that I could not stop crying the first time I played them.
Flash forward to today, with an influx of people leaving Lebanon in the past year, reminds me of what I heard on that cassette. A time where history is repeating itself. People having to say goodbye to their loved ones, holding on to their memories as they wave goodbye. For the SS22 collection film, Wassim Bou Malham and I selected the verse that expresses my grandmother’s wish in one of her verses to be bird. To be a bird so she could fly away to be next to her sons. It is was an honor to collaborate with Wassim, who composed the track by remixing it with one of his original tracks, “Fi Madinati”, a song that speaks about the fire that is born within you from a city like ours, Beirut.
To ensure sound clarity for you all, we asked Amal Nassif from a little village in the Chouf, to recite my grandmother’s poem.
I hope you enjoyed and continue to enjoy our “A New Land” soundtrack and our little story of its making. Thank you to all for being a part of our journey.