In a video that has gone viral on social media, two women, one Portugese and the other Arabic, can be seen singing a duet in their respective languages. And as they say, music knows no language. The song, with its catchy beats, is giving the Internet goosebumps.
Terez Sliman, an independent Palestinian singer and songwriter, can be seen singing the duet with her friend, Olatz Herrera Sofia at the Cairo Hayy Festival, which is held every year as a celebration of contemporary Arabic music.
The original video was posted by Sliman on her Instagram page in May this year, and has been shared and re-shared recently. On Instagram, Sliman wrote about how the visit to Cairo was a life-changing experience for her. She wrote that she performed the song ‘Ya Talayin Al-Jabal’, an iconic Palestinian song, along with her friend. It is, however, not sure when the video was recorded.
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تفاصيل البلد وناسها، الأشخاص اللي شائت الصدف تجمعنا، جمهورية سمكة، العادات والطاقات والنهفات اللي بتشبهنا، الناس اللي بتضحك وبترقص رغم كل شي، البساطة والرضا اللي متجلية بوجوه الناس وين ما تتلفّت.. شكرا للناس الطيبة، الوجه الحلو لكل بلد.. وشكرا للصديق حسن أمين على توثيق هاي اللحظات.. في الفيديو أنا والصديقة “صوفيا برتغال" من فرقة “مينا" يوم بعد عرضنا “مينا" في مهرجان “حيّ" منأدّي مزيج بين أغنية من التراث الفلسطيني يا طالعين الجبل وأغنية من التراث الأسباني اللي بحب يعرف تفاصيل في كتيب ألبوم مينا مرفق مادة بحثية عن كل أغنية)، ممكن تنزيل الكتيب من موقعي
It was also shared on Twitter by a user named Lubna U Rifat.
Following queries by many Twitter users about what the song means, a user who goes by the name Sanaldo said, “This is a song of resilience that Palestinian women used to sing to detainees adding “La" (arabic letter) to every word to alter the meaning of what they’re saying so the soldiers wouldn’t understand their message."
This is a song of resilience that Palestinian women used to sing to detainees adding “La" (arabic letter) to every word to alter the meaning of what they’re saying so the soldiers wouldn’t understand their message.Here’s another version by Rim Banna:https://t.co/Ygm6jNu4Vc— Sanaldo (@Sanaa_Khasawneh) September 1, 2020
That is, indeed, true. The song can be traced back to the early 1900s, when the British army ruled Palestine. For those who are unaware, British was granted a mandate in 1920 which was approved by the League of Nations.
The story goes like this- Palestinian women would sing this very song to the men who had been imprisoned; they would sing it outside the dungeon walls so that the men inside could hear. The main theme of the song is resistance; the upbeat song seeks to instill the spirit of resistance and was meant to comfort the men that they would be saved one day.
The women who sang the song would add an extra “La" syllable at the end so that those who barely understood Arabic wouldn’t get the actual meaning of the song.
Art and music has grown and evolved side by side with the great political movements of the world and resistance. From Bella Ciao in Italy to Ya Talayin Al-Jabal in Palestine, music helped unite protesters, strengthen their resolve and uplift their spirits in the face of adversities.
Bella Ciao may have been made popular by the popular Netflix show, Money Heist, it can be traced back to the 19th century when women working in paddy fields sang the song as a mark of protest against harsh and inhumane working conditions. The song later became the anthem of anti-fascist protesters during the Italian Resistance in the 1930s and 1940s.
The song was given a desi twist earlier this year during the nationwide protests in India against the violent attacks on students of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.