DUBAI: Palestinian musician Bashar Murad and Icelandic band Hatari — who made global headlines recently with their appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in May — have released a track called “Klefi/Samed,” designed to raise awareness of the situation in Palestine. The video has already been viewed over a million times on YouTube.
Ahead of Eurovision, the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement called for contestants to pull out. None did, but as the show was wrapping up, one group held its own protest: Hatari — an “anti-capitalist, techno-dystopian, performance art collective” consisting of Klemens Hannigan, Matthías Haraldsson and Einar Stefánsson — were met with boos from the crowd in Tel Aviv when they pulled out Palestinian banners during the live telecast.
Within 24 hours, Hatari had returned to Reykjavik, but they were just getting started. Their plan included media attention so that more young people could learn about the Palestine-Israel conflict, on-the-ground video content, and their work with Murad.
“We connected through mutual friends [in March] and set a Skype meeting with Matthías and Klemens,” Murad told Arab News. “I had read a few articles about them and felt there could be room to do something together that could make a positive change. We had a connection since I saw a reflection of my artistry in them.”
The resulting Icelandic-Arabic crossover blends Haraldsson’s guttural vocals with Murad’s softer tones, and includes the Palestinian singing the lyrics: “I’m steadfast, I won't bow down.”
The video matches those sentiments. Combining a day’s shoot in the desert with in-studio shots, the centerpiece of the production is the giant Palestinian flag that Murad unveils at the end.
“In April, Hatari was flown in to film for Eurovision; the next day they took a cab and met me in Nabi Musa in the Jericho desert,” Murad says. “We were filming next to a military base, and the whole time we could hear the army practicing shooting. It was a little risky to film there especially with the Palestinian flag, but thankfully nothing happened.
“The song is what kept us strong — we saw it was a beautiful track that needed to be released,” he continued. “We had to navigate a path in which the song's release was justifiable.”