Founded by Ramzi Aburedwan in 2000, the idea of the Dal’Ouna Ensemble was born whilst he was living in France. To this day, Dal’ouna’s core members include Ramzi (bouzouk & viola), Ziad Ben Youssef (oud and percussion), Edwin Buger (accordion and keys), and Youssef Hbeisch (various percussion). Named after a style of song performed in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, Dal’Ouna stands for the communal values of synchronicity, collaborative work and mutual support. This epitomises the collective spirit and goal of the ensemble, whose repertoire features instrumentals and poetic songs based in folklore spanning from Egypt to Andalusia via the Middle East, along with their own original compositions.
Oyoun Al kalaam was the first of four albums released by Ramzi Aburedwan & Dal’ouna Ensemble, the last of which being the widely acclaimed Reflections Of Palestine which was released by Riverboat Records back in 2012. A dozen years have since passed and the time is ripe to bring this forgotten gem to the wider audience that it deserves. Featuring the incredible vocal powers of Oday Al-Khatib and Noura Madi, both young refugee students of the Al-Kamanjati music school that Ramzi founded, the album includes songs steeped in folklore from across the Middle East. Of special note is the opening song ‘Idha Al Shamsi’ which was penned by the revolutionary Egyptian singer/composer Shiekh Iman, whose collaborations with poet Fouad Najm in the 1950s-60s have rendered him beloved by millions and hated by the authorities. Throughout the album, Ramzi’s instrumental mastery shines on his beloved bouzouk, a traditional long-necked lute related to the Greek bouzouki and Turkish saz.
For many years, Ramzi Aburedwan has been the leader of the Palestine National Ensemble of Arabic Music. Born and raised in a Palestinian refugee camp in Ramallah, the major Palestinian city in the West Bank, his story is a remarkable one, with his luminescent international career and pure talent serving as a reminder that his homeland is a place of rich culture and creativity. As an adult, Ramzi promotes peace and understanding through music, but as an 8-year-old boy he was famously photographed hurling stones at tanks during the first Intifada, the Palestinian uprising of 1987–1993. Documentaries have been made of his life, including Its Not a Gun (2005) and Just Play (2012). He is also the main subject of the book Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Landby Sandy Tolan (2015).
With the Dal’Ouna Ensemble, Ramzi found the perfect vehicle of expression as he explains: “When you have an Eastern background and a Western musical education you get a sound that is evocative of gypsy music. It's the natural mixture that happens when the music travels, because the gypsies embody both music and travel. With Dal’Ouna I wanted to explore all my emotions, my daily life, my dreams, the oppression I have experienced and all the places that I have lived.”
Over the years, the ensemble has extensively toured Europe and the Middle East, as well as the US. However, Palestine has always remained their main focus by spreading their musical message across its cities, villages and refugee camps and in turn mentoring and inspiring young performers along the way.