Muhammad Chahwan, a violinist and one of the founders of the Peace Band, which is based in Palestine, says it is no surprise that his group is performing an operetta based on peace during the same month that Palestinian officials are making a bid for UN membership.
The band promotes peace and dignity for Palestinians and everyone, and Chehwan noted that one of the reasons behind the band’s rapid rise to fame is the kinship of its members.
Founded in 2003, the outfit has 10 musicians and is forever trying to make enough money to survive, but doesn’t let that get in the way of the music
“The Band is surviving on individual efforts; for two years one of the band’s members has been letting us rehearse in a wedding hall he owns. Despite all these financial obstacles, our work wins public admiration in Palestine.”
The opening section of the opera reads: “This is the message of all religions, the Torah, the Bible and the Koran. Let’s sing for peace, let’s sing for dreams, let’s say it high and loud: we want peace.”
The operetta was sung in five languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, French, English and said Ahmad Mussa, the author and a singer in the opera.
“The band intends to deliver this message even to the Israeli audience, since our people wants peace and proclaims its right to a Palestinian state,” said Mussa.
Chehwan said that people are often misled by biased media who always work in favor of Israel by reporting stories about the “savage and violent Palestinian people.”
“We are not a bloody people, we are not blood shedders,” he said. “We are civilized and democratic just as all the peoples of this earth. We yearn for freedom, peace and stability away from violence, death, subjugation and sieges.”
Another of the band’s musicians, Muhammad Chaat, hoped that artists from the Arab world would participate in the operetta.
“We wish that every paragraph written in a foreign language would be sung by a native artist so that the message had a stronger effect on his country and his people,” Chaat said. “We are trying to contact artists to sing the operetta in French and English, and we fully hope that the Ministry of Culture in Palestine cooperates with us in this field.”