by Fatima AbdulKarim
RAMALLAH, April 21 (Xinhua) -- A new Palestinian music band released a hit song in March that was echoed widely among Palestinians, who saw it as a form of alternative music entirely produced by Palestinians.
Al-Ins wal-Jam (People and Jam) is the name of the newly emerged music band that brings together seven members who play and sing a variety. Their hit brought simple joy to many Palestinians, especially youth, making this soft pop song a resemblance to the direction of new art forms locally.
The new musical experience was meant to be experimental. Its seven members are not full timers, most of them have day jobs that earn their day to day living, but their dedication to produce new music seems to have come to cover a much desired gap in the local arts scene.
Xinhua followed the group in one of their rehearsals on one of Ramallah's cool breeze evenings. With two lead singers and five musicians, they rehearsed, improvised and argued for over three hours, reflecting the group's internal dynamic which is based on open dialogue and jamming with music.
"We are offering a state of mind, our own musical experience; we are seven friends from seven different music backgrounds. Our experiences and input in music are quite different. In Al-Ins wal-Jam this variety has become one unit that one day critics and others will define. What we like the most is the atmosphere created in our rehearsals." said Ibrahim Nijm, Oud player and music composer of the group's hit Terralali (Almost lunatic).
Nijm, 34, is a music teacher at the Edward Said Conservatory of Music. He said what gives this group an added value is that it has no leader, and all roles are open for its members, which allow them to release their talents in each direction.
Mohammad Mustafa, 30, has been singing professionally for four years, while holding on to his career as a biomedical engineer. He told Xinhua that the band will continue to experiment and jam with music, and interact with the audience.
"It was an experiment, it was a jam and therefore it became Al-Ins wal-Jam in which we are producing our own music; nobody tells us what to do, rather we are experimenting with our own music, our taste which people liked," he said.
Joseph Duqmaq, 37, is also a music teacher at the Edward Said Music Conservatory, where he mainly teaches piano and Saxophone to a variety of students. Although he might be the oldest amongst the members, he seems to be the biggest enthusiast of the music productions. He described the band as a "unique flavor" due to its unique composition.
"The idea of Al-Ins wal-Jam is a variety of styles, merging more than one thing, where each brings his or her own background, when mixed together, you would have something new with an exotic flavor that is close to people and they like it."
Most of the band members had education background in Europe, and returned to Palestine in pursuit of their professional careers, and most of them are playing several bands besides Al-Ins wal-Jam.
Being members in several bands at the same time is mainly due to the fact that the number of professional musicians in Palestine is scarce.
For this band, the main slogan is "Internal harmony." They believe it is their strength that allowed them to release their songs and video clips entirely from their own pockets with entirely local production; without foreign financing or expertise.
Mustafa, the band singer, added that "any band aspires to get on stages; they might not be appreciated by organizers of big events, which is a problem, but we are not going to stop at those obstacles, rather we will work to release our productions and reach to the biggest stages in the world from here, from Ramallah."