Haifa-Based Band Darbet Shams Release New Album

The Haifa-based band Darbet Shams. (Photo: via Darbet Shams FB Page)

By Louis Brehony

After months of performing and organizing, the Palestinian band Darbet Shams released their debut album on November 11.

Entitled Shu Bidur al-Amal (‘Hope doesn’t hurt’), the recording crystallizes the youth energy and optimism of the movement of ’48 Palestine, providing fearlessly thoughtful and at times humorous perspectives on the aspirations of their generation.

Influenced by revolutionary figures Ghassan Kanafani and Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, as well as musicians like Sheikh Imam and Hazem Shaheen, the music is also reminiscent of the international influences brought by Palestinian band Sabreen in the 1980s, and frequently blends traditional melodic ideas with pop arrangements.

Led by songwriter-oud player Samer Asakli from the Galilee village of al-Maghar, and fronted by Mi’ilya-born vocalist Hanan Wakeem, the group came together in 2018 and were involved musically and politically in the May 2021 uprising in Haifa.

The bravery of this stand is underlined in lyrics to Minadil (‘We resist’), where dictatorial colonialism and those betraying the land are explicitly critiqued. Carried melodically, the alternative promises to struggle for the real liberation of Palestine:

The land will be freed when the people walking on it are free.

Samer explains: “Darbet Shams expresses a political, social, and emotional message in all of its productions, and aims to deliver this message to as many people as possible.” Following a series of concerts across historic Palestine, the band plan to launch Shu Bidur al-Amal internationally with gigs and album premieres in Europe.

Download the new album here: https://linktr.ee/DarbetShamsBand

– Louis Brehony is a musician, activist, researcher and educator. He is author of the book Palestinian Music in Exile: Voices of Resistance (2023), editor of Ghassan Kanafani: Selected Political Writings (2024), and director of the award-winning film Kofia: A Revolution Through Music (2021). He writes regularly on Palestine and political culture and performs internationally as a buzuq player and guitarist. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

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