Model Role Details

Reem Kilani

Reem Kilani

Sector : Cultural Figures , Singers / Musicians

Personal Info

  • Country of residence : United Kingdom
  • Gender : Female
  • Born in : 1965
  • Age : 51
  • Curriculum vitae :

Information

Reem Kelani is a British Palestinian musician, born in Manchester, England. Initially influenced by the jazz music her father played on his record player, her interest in Palestinian music was sparked by the music at a family wedding in her maternal home in Galilee in the 1970s.


Kelani was born in Manchester, England, the daughter of Yousef Zaid Kelani (1925- ), a physician and endocrinologist from Yabad near Jenin in the West Bank, and Yusra Sharif Zu’bi (1931-2004), a homemaker from Nazareth in the Galilee.

Kelani is a maternal cousin of Haneen Zoabi, the first Palestinian Israeli woman to be elected to the Knesset, a relative of Shawkat Kelani, a prominent doctor and co-founder of An-Najah University in Nablus, and the great niece of Wajih al-Kaylani, Shaykh al-Islam of the Philippines. Kelani started singing at the age of four, and she recalls it as one of the most profound experiences of her life. She continued singing as an amateur and semi-professional singer until she went professional in 1990. She studied piano as a child, and this helped expose her to Western classical music, of which her father was an avid listener. Her father’s early fascination with Fred Astaire’s black-and-white films introduced Kelani to the music of George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, the Jazz elements of which can be heard in her own music and in her choice of a band based around a Jazz rhythm section, alongside traditional Arabic instruments.

Kelani has spoken publicly about a turning point when, as a teenager attending a family wedding in the village of Nein outside Nazareth, she became interested in Palestinian and Arabic music.
Kelani is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio Four.

In 1995, Kelani co-presented "A Day in the Life of a Palestinian Woman" for the BBC World Service. The programme was produced by Sara Bradshaw.

In 1997, Kelani performed traditional Palestinian songs for "Your Land is My Land", a documentary series for Radio Four to mark the 50th anniversary of the expulsion of the Palestinians, on the creation of the state of Israel. The series was presented by Tim Llewellyn and produced by Vanessa Harrison. For BBC 2's Everyman series in 1992, Kelani wrote original music for See No Evil on the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Beirut in 1982. The film was produced by Stephen Walker. Kelani also did simultaneous interpreting and sub-titling.



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