Growing up in Lebanon during the civil war I struggled with the question of how much we can do that could make a difference in this world. Since then the weight of this question has grown heavier. I have often felt helpless, switched off to the world, uneasy seeing myself as human... What I am sure of now, is that these states I slip into are one way to ensure that everything I object to in this world remains unchallenged, following its most comfortable path. And so the word 'resistance' has come to me several times over the last few months, even before the recent invasion of Lebanon – resistance in relation to an ever increasing range of areas; arms trade and the torture industry,multi-national companies polluting our foods and natural resources, media under reporting or colluding with doctored political rhetoric such as 'war on terror'.
Whether recuperating as you digest information about your environment, or gathering energy as you find your place in this world, may the music and the intentions of this project serve as food for your soul.
Wishing you love and focus, may we keep returning to our centre, may we shine to ourselves and all around us. Sami Moukaddem September 2006, Dublin
War journalists have increasingly come under direct attack in Israel and Iraq, while mainstream media continue to avoid the severity of conditions Palestinians live under (over 350 Palestinian children ages 12-18 are held in Israeli prisons and subjected to systematic abuse - Censored 2006), and instead prefer to align themselves to superpowers with very little challenge to their leaders (5 years since 9/11 a total of 4,319 have been killed in major terror attacks while 92,469 have been killed in the 'war on terror' - The Guardian 11/9/2006). It seems to me that extremes create opposing extremes with little hope for peace.This tune is dedicated to efforts in finding non-violent means of communication through gentle persistence.
Since I moved to Ireland over 21 years ago I have been asked several times how long I have been living here. Over the last few years I began to notice the subtlety in the reactions I am given: some say "You're nearly Irish", welcomingly, and some say "You're nearly Irish" with a hint of "But you will never be".The most beautiful reaction I received was when I sent my second CD to Blaise Smith, a great painter and jazz pianist I have known casually over the past twenty years. He e-mailed me back,“…strangely I had never accounted for your background. I had never really noticed that you had another culture to draw on till I heard this. .. I thought you were Irish, man!! Then you go and do this!! Hahaha…”This tune, an Arabic jig, is dedicated to Blaise's beautiful culture-blindness.
I learnt recently that chicken that are bread in metallic cages (non free range), when they defecate, their feces eventually becomes acidic and burns back through their skins…This tune is written as background music in support of chickens that would organise themselves and eventually breakout of their cages and towards a more 'humane' life… A national anthem for a human-free chicken state may be composed in the future should I be privileged enough to be approached.
This tune is written for Billy Ohanluain to express gratitude for organising a benefit concert for Lebanon during the recent invasion by Israel. During the 34 days of extensive bombardment I would phone my aunt and cousin on a daily basis.Telling them of Billy's gesture, and eventual great success, made a huge difference to my family who lived through Bush and Blair's every effort to ensure that an early ceasefire would not be accomplished… Also thanks to all who contributed in any way, those who turned up, and those who couldn't but kept us in their hearts and minds.
I have grown to believe in cultural resistance. During the second invasion of Iraq the looting and burning of libraries under American occupation has caused irreversible damage to the Arabic culture, which is also part of this World's culture.When I first moved to Ireland I didn't understand why some Irish people still chose to learn Irish. Now I do. Language does more than communicate practical needs, it can evoke a way of being in this World,“May the road rise to meet you”. Even without saying it in its original language, the translation alone evokes a softer spirit in me, one that is more open to what is beyond the confines of my skin. I am humbled to be living amidst a rich heritage, may I learn how to extend myself to it...
During the recent bombardment of Lebanon I often felt sick in my soul, a feeling I grew up with, and one that often visits me when overwhelmed by learning about difficult issues in our World. I have to actively remind myself of the beauty of the world around me, reminding myself that I am more empowered, more effective when joyful.This is not always practically applicable, pain is life too, just like joy is, neither without the other. Still, this tune hopes to serve as a reminder to connect with joy.
Taita is grandmother in Lebanese. She raised my brother and I. Taita passed away over three years ago. I opted to have the sentiment of this song translated to Irish, the language of my adopted country;“Taita, come back for just one day. Your daughters can cook, but not like you”
I wrote this tune over nine months ago, drawn from my experiences of growing up in the civil war in Lebanon over twenty years ago. I remember living through periods when there would be constant shelling. Eventually I would try to find my centre amidst the surrounding chaos.This tune replicates this process: Robbie, Jose, and I wage war on Brendan while he centres himself.
Less than a year ago I carried out a series of exercises, some spiritual and some involving body exercises such as tapping on my hands to awaken the meridians.Within a few weeks I began to feel a flowing feeling as if I was in love. One night I heard the buzzing sound of my washing machine as it was finishing its last cycle. I went and watched the climaxing cycle and it's eventual slowing down to a halt.As I did this I ended up reflecting on all the washing machines that have washed my clothes since I was a boy. And I felt a gratitude. I knew it was machines, supposedly inanimate, but still, there was something alive I had not seen before. I was in touch with this ecstatic state for about a month, and then it faded. Against the possibility that I would be labelled a 'nutcase', I wrote this tune as a reminder that divinity can be perceived in all things around us.
My cousin Fadi was due to fly over to join us for the recording of this album, however due to the recent war in Lebanon he was unable to apply for a visa. I was determined that somehow he would join us.As Dave's recording studio is separated from his house by a few meters he ended up using an extension, out of his studio, through the letter box, and mike the house phone. Fadi rang us, Dave amplified the signal, and we recorded this tune live, via phone, with contributions from Dave's three-legged cat who was lurking outside the studio.