Music is perhaps one of the most important forms of human expression, and Lajee Center wants to give more opportunities to the children of Aida to explore this art. In 2017, the music unit will expand from 7 to 19members, mostly students between the age of 8 and 12. They will receive a total of four lessons per week, which means one lesson with a teacher or lessons in pairs. In addition, the restart of the choral troupe will be a big goal. This was made difficult in the past by the ongoing Israeli military occupation, right at the door of Lajee, but it will not stop our right to make music.
This right will be shown multiple times during the year. Five big performances will be held in the West Bank during Mother’s Day and Day of the Palestinian Child for example. Beyond Lajee Center and Aida Camp, it is important to show ourselves to the world. In 2017, we remember the 100th year since the Balfour declaration, and a cultural tour to the United Kingdom would be very fitting. Last year, 3 members already went to several cities in England, Ireland and Scotland to play their music in front of the local people.
Raghad Ajarma, a thirteen year old oud player, was very happy with that trip: “Our last performance in Aberdeen was wonderful. People were very interactive and greeted us at the end of the performance with a huge round of applause. We could not be more grateful. After our performance, we were given a new oud as a gift.”
Growing of the unit
The expansion and plans are no surprise if you look how the Music Unit has grown since its foundation. As of last year, there are 8 committed musicians who attended the unit since the first year, including 2 oud players, 2 violin players and 2 qanun players. With the expansion, there will now be 3 violin players and 5 qanun ones – while oud stays the same number. This shows that traditional Palestinian instruments are an important objective for Lajee Center as to preserve the culture of Palestinian and Middle Eastern music genres.
Batoul Hammad, 14 years old, tells why the Music unit is so important: “I am so glad that I can continue to take music lessons at Lajee center. I can play music with other children and practice playing national songs that I could only hear in the past. Now, I can feel that music. I can play it in front of large audiences as well. It makes me feel happy and special.”