Palestinian music band al-Ashekeen performed in Palestine and invigorated audiences with their songs of resistance and hope, the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre said on Wednesday.
Members of the Palestinian band al-Ashekeen played for the first time in the occupied Palestinian territories, receiving high acclamation from the crowds.
Thousands of people in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho, Jenin, Nablus and Abu Dis, attended the concerts, to hear the band notorious amongst so many for enshrining the ideals of Palestinian resistance.
Abu Dis, located against the Wall, is the closest the band can get to Jerusalem. In the semi-circular amphitheatre, crowds of young men and women stood singing with the performers.
“They are the red spirit of struggle in Palestine,” said Abu Khadder, political science professor at al-Quds University. “This group reflects the struggle of the Palestinian people” He added, “It contradicts everything people say about Palestinian loss of hope, about giving up.”
Another man at the concert stated: “I have been in the United States for 30 years, but I know all the songs. I left when I was 17 but I know them all,” “They are the Beatles of Palestine!”
Al-Asheqeen was founded in 1977 in Damascus by the prominent composer Hussein Nazek and lyricist Ahmad Dahbour. The band was formed by Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon. They rapidly became known as the band of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
The group performed around the world – in Canada, Greece, the USA, the UK and several Arab capitals. For the last ten days, they toured the Palestinian territories with the support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Their songs narrated the struggle of the Palestinian people after the “Nakba”, when the State of Israel was created and over 700,000 Palestinians were made refugees. The lyrics included lines of famous Palestinian poets such as Mahmoud Darwish, and the music was inspired by traditional Palestinian music.
The band split up in the late eighties amidst a deteriorating political climate and internal divisions in the PLO, and remained silent for almost 25 years. Only one member, Abu Ali, is left of al-Ashakeen’s founding members.
Today, the group consists of 33 dancers, singers, musicians and songwriters, mainly Palestinians and Arabs living in London.
While their classic songs are still played by popular demand, the new band’s style is about maintaining cultural tradition and promoting peace rather than being one of revolution, as singer and songwriter Nizzar al-Issa explained.