Traditional Palestinian band dreams of freedom in homeland
Our story didn't just begin. It has been going on since 1948 ... its why we're on stage, says Adnan Joubran
By Omer Faruk Yildiz
ISTANBUL (AA) — Freedom in the homeland is a dream cherished by many Palestinians, including the musical brothers Samir, Adnan, and Wissam Joubran, who, through their traditional oud instruments, aim to make the melodies of their people heard throughout the world.
Born in the city of Nazareth in northern Israel, the three siblings formed the band Le Trio Joubran in 2004. Since then, they have put out five albums and played the soundtracks of several motion pictures.
"We're trying to make the voice of the Palestinians heard by traveling around the world," Wissam, 40, told Anadolu in an exclusive interview.
Wassim is also a skilled maker of ouds, lute-like instruments with round bodies and short necks that he and his brothers play.
"We in the Joubran family have been in the oud industry for about 100 years. We've been working for years to capture the best sound of the oud," he said.
As a result of their quest, they have come up with a unique design for the instrument, which they call the triple, or Joubran, oud.
"We have created a very unique sound, and everyone who hears it knows that this sound belongs to Le Trio Joubran. We brought a different sound and perspective to the oud, which is why we are an exceptional group," he said.
"Many people come to me and ask how they can create a unique sound for themselves. I tell them that, first and foremost, they need to have a musical identity."
- Since 1948
In the band's early years, the three brothers lived together in Paris, where they found themselves in a musical whirlwind.
"We played between 80 and 100 concerts a year and it was a very busy time for us," said Adnan, 37, adding that Samir returned to Palestine after their third album and he went to London.
"Being in different places gave us a more colorful identity and this allowed us to produce different kinds of works," he said .
"When we want to make an album, we get together and compose our songs by blending the ideas we came up with ourselves," said the youngest of the three brothers, adding that they were in the most harmony with each other and most inspired at concerts.
On the link between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and their music, Adnan underlined that "every note we play on stage has meaning."
"Our story didn't just begin. It has been going on since 1948.
"I don't want to say that what we've been through inspired our music, but this is our story. It's why we're on stage. It's why we have our music and our career," he explained.
Emphasizing that it was the responsibility of politicians, not musicians, to achieve peace, he said that if the conflict were to end between the two sides, their group would "share the same stage and celebrate peace together."
However, he pointed to some Palestinian and Israeli musicians who have already performed together, saying that at this point, such action was "a waste of time."
- Music no instrument to stop war
For his part, Samir, the eldest, said Le Trio Joubran had been offered to join Israeli musicians many times to support peace between the two sides.
"This seems cliche to us," he criticized. "Of course, as the Le Trio Joubran and the Palestinians, we want there to be peace."
"It's okay to do a concert together and put on a peace label, but imagine that we're performing with an Israeli musician, but thousands of children are being slaughtered on the other side," explained Samir.
"So, we don't think that music will be an instrument to stop the war under these conditions."
On a planned concert in the Turkish metropolis Istanbul on Nov. 24, the Palestinian musician, 50, said he could not take part in the concert they gave in Greece in October due to the ongoing war in Palestine.
"For the first time, Le Trio Joubran took to the stage without me," he lamented. "We hope that we will all perform together at the Istanbul concert."
"We have performed many times in Türkiye before. I think Türkiye is one of the countries where Le Trio Joubran has the most fans," he said, urging support for the Palestinian struggle amid the current challenging conditions.
He also said the group was "very touched" by the turnout at a massive pro-Palestine rally in Istanbul on Oct. 28.
"Despite the harsh, rude and unfair structure of politics, we witness societies defending that Palestine should live with dignity without being occupied," said Samir.
"We will go to Türkiye with these feelings."
He added that despite the current challenging times, their music represents "a better life and hope for Palestine."
- 'Great Palestinian ideal'
Samir also emphasized that peace could be achieved through justice, not stereotypes, and said: "I would share the same stage with the Israelis, but first they have to leave my homeland."
"When they give me my freedom, when they let me walk around freely without searching the inside of my home, we can sit together and reconcile with each other," he stated. "But you can't accept the idea of making up with someone who's sleeping in your bedroom."
On how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he stressed that conditions are "changing very quickly in Palestine and the Middle East. It changes even as I speak."
"What is happening in the region right now is very dramatic and we don't know where the outcome will lead," he said.
"There's only one thing we know. We will continue to stay on our land. We will always dream of not being under occupation and achieving our freedom."
The musician further underlined that he did not know if the solution would involve a single state or two states, but asserted that Israel would not even accept a one-state solution.
"They do not want 7 million more Palestinians to exist in their country, because demographically, the populations will be equalized by half," he said.
"What we have now is much more than what is official, that is, there is an ideal. Our country may be small, but the Palestinian ideal is always great."
"This process will end somehow, but unfortunately it seems that a lot of people will lose their lives by the time it comes to a conclusion," said Samir.
"Mahmoud Darwish says in a poem, 'Many soldiers died, not knowing who won.' The conditions we are in are exactly like this."
*Writing by Merve Berker
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