RAMZI ABUREDWAN grew up in the Al Amari refugee camp in Ramallah, where his family took refuge after being driven out of their home in Palestine in 1948. The violence of the first Palestinian intifada (1987-1993) marked Ramzi’s childhood and adolescence. At age 16, Ramzi participated in a musical workshop, which proved ...
February 28th to March 11th Tour announcement
featuring Palestinian musician/composer RAMZI ABUREDWAN and DAL’OUNA ENSEMBLEwith special guest vocalist LINA SLEIBI and award-winning author and journalist SANDY TOLAN
2017 marked the 100th anniversary of Israel/Palestine struggle and the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. These anniversaries – of Britain’s 1917 Balfour Declaration, and the end of the 1967 “Six Day War” – offer an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the Palestinian struggle to end occupation and strive for freedom and nationhood.
The U.S. National CHILDREN OF THE STONE/DAL’OUNA concert and book tour will mark these anniversaries through a powerful combination of music and literature. The tour will celebrate Palestinian musician and educator Ramzi Aburedwan and his belief in the power of music and culture to transform lives and resist oppression.
It will also feature Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land (Bloomsbury, April 2015/paperback 2016) by Sandy Tolan, author of the international bestseller, The Lemon Tree.
Children of the Stone tells the dramatic story of Ramzi Aburedwan’s life growing up in an occupied Palestinian refugee camp and his transformation from a stone throwing youth of the first intifada, to a talented musician studying at the Edward Said Palestine National Academy of Music and a French Conservatory and his final return to Palestine to realize his life's dream of founding a music school, Al-Kamandjati that has centers in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. He views Al-Kamandjati and related projects with international musicians as a combination of safe haven, creative resistance, and trauma therapy for the least fortunate Palestinian children, many living in refugee camps.
Featured in concert will be the powerful music of Ramzi Aburedwan and his Arabic-French Dal’Ouna Ensemble: a dynamic fusion of Palestinian folk, classical, jazz and world music. Ensemble members include renowned composer, violist and buzouk player Ramzi Aburedwan and percussionist Tareq Rantisi from Palestine, oud player Ziad Ben Youssef from Tunisia, Edwin Buger from Yugoslavia on accordion, and special guest vocalist Lina Sleibi from Palestine, Sandy Tolan will do readings from his book, Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land.
Yo-Yo Ma had this to say about Sandy Tolan’s book:
“In a world where so much popular fiction depicts life in a dystopian world, it is refreshing to have this non-fiction account that reflects one individual’s belief in the power of music and culture to transform lives. Congratulations to Sandy Tolan for bringing us the story of Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan, his philosophy and his personal mission to make a difference. His story is proof of the famous words of Margaret Mead –‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has’”.
DAL’OUNA ENSEMBLE is named after a festive Palestinian music genre. Through its music, the ensemble expresses the hopes of a people who love to laugh and sing and who seek peace and freedom. The ensemble’s repertoire extends from Egypt to Andalusia, passing through various regions and traditions of the Middle East, and adding medieval and jazz accents to a musical confluence of East and West. On their musical journey, Ramzi Aburedwan and Dal’Ouna bring us into their world, their music, their poetry and traditions. They combine traditional Arab instruments including the bouzuk, the oud, and oriental percussion with viola and accordion. The repertoire ranges from instrumental to traditional poetic genres that focus on love, freedom, and nature. Dal’Ouna is a story of shared experiences, a refuge where borders don’t apply, and a message of hope for its members and audiences.
Touring with Dal’Ouna Ensemble in September are violist and bouzuk player Ramzi Aburedwan and percussionist Tareq Rantisi from Palestine, oud player Ziad Ben Youssef from Tunisia, accordion virtuoso Edwin Buger from France (Yugoslavian born), with special guest vocalist Lina Sleibi from Palestine .
BIOGRAPHIES OF MUSICIANS AND AUTHOR
RAMZI ABUREDWAN grew up in the Al Amari refugee camp in Ramallah, where his family took refuge after being driven out of their home in Palestine in 1948. The violence of the first Palestinian intifada (1987-1993) marked Ramzi’s childhood and adolescence. At age 16, Ramzi participated in a musical workshop, which proved to be a life-changing experience. From 1996 to 1998 he studied at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Ramallah. In 1998-2005, Ramzi received a scholarship to study viola at the National Regional Conservatory of Angers (France). Ramzi graduated with a DEM in viola, and chamber music. At the French conservatory, Ramzi met up with other students with whom he created the Dal’Ouna Ensemble in 2000. Today Ramzi splits his career amongst many projects. He is concert performer, bandleader of Dal’Ouna, musical director, composer and arranger for the Palestine National Arabic Music Ensemble, and viola soloist performing Western classical music with chamber music ensembles and orchestras throughout the Middle East and Europe. Ramzi’s deep engagement with Palestinian youth led him to realize a lifelong dream in 2005: the creation of the Al Kamandjati Association. Al Kamandjati’s mission is to bring musical education to Palestinian children and, in particular, to those who are most vulnerable – the children of the refugee camps. Al Kamandjati teaches more than 500 children per year from the refugee camps of Al Amari, Jalazon, Tulkarm and Qalandia, in the village of Deir Ghassana, and the cities of Ramallah, Jenin, Gaza City and Hebron in Palestine. In Lebanon, Al Kamandjâti runs music schools in the refugee camps of Bourj el Barajneh and Shatila.
Lina Sleibi is a Palestinian artist who has loved music and singing since a very young age, and has considered them a way for expressing herself. She aspires to convey messages - both artistic and humanitarian - through her voice, songs, and the events she participates in. Her interests are broad and include singing, dancing, modeling, acting, photography, presenting, travelling and sports. In 2014, Lina got her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing. This has equipped her with the creative and managerial skills needed to manage her musical productions and team. She participated in several local, regional and international music projects and concerts.
TAREQ RANTISI was born in Jerusalem, Palestine. Self-taught, he began his career playing Middle-Eastern percussion and has performed in concerts and music festivals throughout the Arab world and Europe. In 2008, Tareq received the Al-Qattan Foundation Music Scholarship to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in the US, receiving a degree in Percussion Performance and graduating with honors, covering jazz to Afro-Cuban to Carnatic Indian to Brazilian and more. He has performed with Paul Winter, Simon Shaheen, Aaron Goldberg, Srinivas Krishnan, Victor Mendoza, Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, Bruno Råberg, Javier Limón, Pepe de Lucía, Glen Velez and many other virtuosic musicians, composers and ensembles.
Tareq has also developed a body of educational work, offering master classes, workshops and private lessons throughout the world in collaboration with Arabic Music Retreat, Brandeis University, The Center for Arabic Culture, NAFDA, The Gaza Music School, Qattan Foundation, Al Kamandjâti Association, Kufiyyeh Center of Music, and the Yamaha Music School.
ZIAD BEN YOUSSEF’s passion for the oud began in his native Tunisia, encouraged by some local masters who introduced him to the world of "Eastern Maqam", the main foundation of oriental music with roots in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Armenian traditions. His musical path was forged with the Bashir brothers, Ali Sriti, Farid Ghosn, Anouar Brahem, Saliha, Manolo Sanlucar, Sabicas and many others. Ziad continues to pursue his goal of expanding the boundaries of this instrument vis à vis improvisation and exploration of diverse musical traditions, including Flamenco, Eastern European, jazz and other contemporary music. Ziad has ventured into the world of theater and has participated in numerous projects such as "The Thousand and One Nights "with English director Tim Supple, poetry performances, and film soundtracks: “Happiness” (Alexander Medvidkine), “Kedaba” (ElHachmia Didi Alaoui), “ADN, Ame de la terre” (Thierry Obadia), and "Tomb of the Lovers" performed live at the Louvre Auditorium.
EDWIN BUGER, renowned accordionist and multi-instrumentalist from France and born in Yugoslavia, discovered his love of music early on, thanks to his father who plays guitar and sings. At age 12 he began to perform at weddings, and at 16 he played guitar and accordion for dances with numerous bands in Bavaria where his parents had settled. In his late teens, Edwin played in the rock band “Sauerkirsch” and soon thereafter took up the saxophone and performed in the French Legion marching band for five years before he was sent to the military conservatory in Versailles. He later settled down in Toulouse and played dance music in the villages in the Pyrénées region. His next move was to Bordeaux where he was introduced to the music of Madagascar and Martinique, French gypsy jazz, and a broad range of Arab and African traditions. He released his first jazz album in 2010 featuring Ziad Ben Youssef on Oud and Thierry Lujan on guitar. When he’s not touring and performing, he is the church organist in his home community. His musical horizons are forever expanding.
SANDY TOLAN is author of The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, Heart of the Middle East, which has sold more than 250,000 copies in six languages, and his new book, Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land. He has reported from more than 35 countries, mostly in Latin America and the Middle East, written for more than 40 newspapers and magazines, and produced hundreds of documentaries and features for NPR and Public Radio International. His work has focused on the intersection of land conflicts, racial and ethnic identity, natural resources, and the global economy. He is a co-founder of Homelands Productions, an independent production company focusing on documentary work for public radio. Sandy has garnered more than 25 national and international journalism awards. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and an I.F. Stone Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC-Berkeley, where he taught from 2000-2007. Currently he is Associate Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.
Praise for Sandy Tolan’s CHILDREN of the STONE: The Power of Music in a Hard Land
“In 1988, a photograph of an eight-year-old Palestinian boy poised to throw a stone became a widely reproduced symbol of the first Palestinian intifada. This eye-opening book from Tolan (The Lemon Tree) follows that boy, Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan, through his dramatic young adulthood…Tolan’s exhaustive research and journalistic attention to detail shine through every page of this sweeping chronicle.”
“Children of the Stone is alive with compassion, hope, and great inspiration. It is not necessary to believe in music's power to defeat evil in order to be enchanted by this wonderful story.”
—Tom Segev, author of One Palestine, Complete
“Sandy Tolan, author of the celebrated Lemon Tree, has produced another gem on what is happening under the surface in Palestine. This time the theme is the liberating potential of music. The book contains enthralling biographical trajectories of ordinary people fighting against the odds, like Ramzi the violist, Suhail the musical composer, Mariam the singer, Suraida the activist, who use music as an instrument of resistance and survival under military rule. Written in the style of investigative journalism, the book is riveting and uplifting, without skirting issues of contestation and controversy.”
—Salim Tamari, Director, Institute of Palestine Studies, Georgetown University
“Somewhere amidst the separation barriers and the countless checkpoints, the refugee camps and the demolished homes, the fruitless negotiations and endless conflict, there is a people yearning for a life of dignity and normalcy. You won’t see them on TV or in many newspapers. But you will find them in The Children of Stone, Sandy Tolan’s moving account of the dispossessed children of Palestine, and the transformative power that music has had in giving them meaning and reason for hope.”
—Reza Aslan, author of #1 New York Times bestseller
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
“A resolute, heart-rending story of real change and possibility in the Palestinian-Israeli impasse.”
"A moving tale of music's power in Palestine... Gripping... Tolan is a scrupulous craftsman [who does] the hard work of getting the story right."
--Los Angeles Times
Praise for Children of the Stone
“Eye-opening . . . Tolan’s exhaustive research and journalistic attention to detail shine through
every page of this sweeping chronicle.” —Publishers Weekly
“Not only about music’s ability to change an individual’s life, this moving book also shows how
it can serve to bridge the gap between two sides that remain at odds.”—Library Journal, “Best Books of 2015”
“A complex report on the nuances of the conflict and the possible future of a Palestinian
state—as explained through the attempts of Ramzi Aburedwan and others to play music. By following Ramzi’s journey from stone-throwing child to accomplished musician, Tolan has helped to explain the struggle and pain of being Palestinian.” —St. Louis Dispatch
“A symphony of international locations, big ideas and human dramas . . . Tolan shows a
novelist's preoccupation with empathy in portraying two conflicting worlds: music's timeless idealism and occupation's brutal realities. What emerges is a deeply moving parable of struggle and mastery—over an instrument, over painful injustice and ultimately over self.” —Newsweek
“[A]mbitious . . . Tolan excels as a dogged reporter, and his musical descriptions amplify his
“Children of the Stone is a nuanced, intelligent, in-depth discussion not only of Aburedwan’s
life, but of the many complex issues his work raises… I would highly recommend to those
grappling with the thorny issue of the relationship between art and conflict. [It] is a rare, detailed
and intimate portrait of a working-class Palestinian from the occupied West Bank, grappling with
poverty and class.” —Electronic Intifada
“Tremendous . . . [Children of the Stone] is clearly a labor of love, and it provides a priceless
chronicle of a fascinating slice of Palestinian life through the unique lens of a boy with an
uncomplicated love of music—and how such a love can become complicated by politics,
personal relationships, and the violent, choking restrictions of occupation . . . [O]ne is left
astonished that such sparks of creativity and beauty continually pop up like wildflowers against
enormous odds. And that in itself feels like cause for some hope.” —Mondoweiss
PRAISE FOR “THE LEMON TREE:
An Arab, a Jew and the Heart of the Middle East”
by Sandy Tolan Bloomsbury Press, 2006
In 1967, Bashir Al-Khayri, a Palestinian twenty-five-year-old, journeyed to Israel, with the goal of seeing the beloved old stone house, with the lemon tree behind it that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier. To his surprise, when he found the house he was greeted by Dalia Ashkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student, whose family fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust. On the stoop of their shared home, Dalia and Bashir began a rare friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and tested over the next thirty-five years in ways that neither could imagine on that summer day in 1967... Sandy Tolan brings the Israeli-Palestinian conflict down to its most human level, suggesting that even amid the bleakest political realities there exist stories of hope and reconciliation.
“One of the Best Books of the Year”
~ Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Booklist
~ National Book Critics Circle Award
“Beautifully told…a very poignant but impressively unsentimental story…it reads like a work of fiction.”
~ The Nation
“No novel could be more compelling…And it will certainly be one of the best works of nonfiction that you will read this year.”
~ Christian Science Monitor
“Literally the single work I'd recommend to anyone seeking to understand why the conflict remains unresolved, and why it continues to dominate the region.”
~ Tony Karon, Executive Producer, Al Jazeera America
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ramzi Aburedwan firstname.lastname@example.org