Two discs here. Not for the sake of one long album, but for the sake of two different albums in the same package. Disc one wears a dolorous black turtleneck: sombre piano plus throbbing loud deep drums and an unaccompanied vocal performance from Oumima Khalil on “Mohammad” which is the highlight of everything — the delicacy of the control and the strength of the voice are good beyond description.
Disc two is a soundtrack to someone’s triumphant movie, a big tympani rolls up a hill and two choirs go on a march. The instruments understand their role conventionally: they accompany, the voices sing. Darwish (1941 – 2008) was a Palestinian people’s poet, a homeland poet, respected and prolific. He wrote about earth, plants, food, houses, meetings and the memory and forgetting things associated with those things. I can see that he suits disc one. Disc two feels like Khalifé’s self-reference to part of a speech he made as he was receiving the title of Artist for Peace from UNESCO in 2005: “Be the voice of protest to old wounds that never healed. Be a roaring anger, magnificently composed …”.