Reem Kelani – BFI, 19 June


We are big supporters of Reem Kelani and are extremely proud that she is performing at our reception at the BFI (Blue Room) following the screening of A World Not Ours. She will be accompanied by Bruno Heinen on piano.

Reem is a Palestinian singer, musician and musicologist who was born in England, brought up in Kuwait and now lives in London. Working in the Diaspora, Reem has introduced countless non-Arab musicians to Arabic and Palestinian music, as has she pioneered the introduction of Arabic song in schools across the UK.

She has led major tours with her band to Syria (in 2007 and 2009), Turkey (2009), China (2010 and 2011), and Seattle (in 2008 and 2013). Most recently, Reem gave a joint concert in Istanbul in April 2014 with the Turkish collective Kardes Turkuler and she performed as a soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and a choir of 250 in May. Her performance in Norway was described by the Financial Times as “searingly beautiful”.

Reem is bi-lingual and bi-cultural, appealing equally to Arab and non-Arab audiences. She combines musicality, meticulous field research, a mastery of the Arabic language and adherence to the conventions of classical Arabic singing, with her own Jazz inflected arrangements.

Reem is also known for her work as a broadcaster. In 2012, Radio 4 broadcast ‘Songs for Tahrir’ about her experiences in Cairo during the revolution in 2011. Reem’s earlier Radio 4 series ‘Distant Chords’ led to new interest in the music of migrant communities in the UK.

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