Reem Kelani, the Palestinian singer and musicologist was born in Manchester, brought up in Kuwait and lives in London.
She has led major tours with her band to Syria, Turkey, Germany, Belgium, China, and the US. In 2015, Reem performed as a soloist in Sir Karl Jenkins’ Stabat Mater at the Royal Albert Hall, and in 2014, she performed in the Grieg Hall alongside the Bergen Philharmonic and a 250-strong choir in Orlando Gough’s Stemmer.
Reem is bi-lingual and bi-cultural, appealing to Arab and non-Arab audiences. She combines musicality, meticulous field research, excellent Arabic language and respect for the conventions of Arabic music. Reem researches, composes and arranges her own material. She has pioneered the introduction of Arabic and Palestinian singing in schools across the UK and has given visiting lectures at London’s Goldsmiths College, Istanbul’s Bosphorus University, Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts, Shanghai’s Conservatory of Music and Damascus’ Higher Institute of Music.
Reem also wrote and presented “Songs for Tahrir” for BBC Radio 4 on the music of the Egyptian Revolution and two series of Distant Chords on the music of migrant communities in the UK.
2016 saw the release of “Reem Kelani: Live at the Tabernacle” to great acclaim, in follow up to her now classic first album “Sprinting Gazelle – Palestinian Songs from the Motherland and the Diaspora”.
It goes without saying that an artist with an independent and clear Palestinian narrative like Reem has overcome discrimination and prejudice to get where she has. She has earned her place as an international artist who enjoys widespread critical acclaim and a strong following at the grassroots, with huge artistic and personal integrity.
“Kelani is more than a musician: she’s a teacher, a scholar and a broadcaster. She is also a force of nature, reminiscent in some ways of the Argentinian great Mercedes Sosa.” (The Australian, 2016)