Apr 13, 2008

Lullabies and lamentations

article by Ben Shalev
full article at www.hareetz.com


Fermana" ("Destruction") is a song that laments Saddam Hussein's slaughter of the Kurds. Elia learned it from Kurdish-Turkish workers who came to work in Jerusalem in the mid-1990s, and she included a stunningly powerful version of the song on her second album, released in 1997. Since then, she says, she has learned of other versions of the song, from different parts of Kurdistan, each one relating to the specific trauma of that region and telling its unique story of destruction.


Her potential audience in Israel is small, she says, and some in the Kurdish community are not receptive to her style of singing, which is also influenced by the classical Western singing in which she was trained before she discovered Kurdish folk songs. The new collection is the first album she has released since 1997 and, at this stage, it will be sold only at her performances and not in stores. Other projects of hers, such as the idea of releasing an album of songs set to Hebrew poems, have not been that successful. "Once it would have depressed me and really got me down," she says. "Now I can deal with it. At least I'm doing something, little by little."

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