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“This Landscape of Resolute Blooms”

A musical collaboration infuses poetry, magic, and a touch of dissonance into Palestine's cultural scene.

Jerusalem24 – The poetic, dream-like words that entitle Dina Shilleh and Robin Burlton’s latest musical show, “This Landscape of Resolute Blooms”, encapsulate the magic the duo strives to share with their audience.

Running at Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center in Ramallah on 4 and 5 February, the performance featured various groups of stringed instruments and is the first event in this season’s Gradus-العتبة concert series, which highlights the newest creations of local Palestinian musicians.

“Robin and I have been doing these kinds of joint performances of his and my compositions for the past five years,” show creator and curator Dina Shilleh tells Jerusalem24. “We’ve had six different performances of different material each time.”

Shilleh and Burlton conceptualize each performance through frequent discussions and planning. This collaboration, she says, focuses on “the need to reflect on the individual, the community, the society, the historic and geographical issues and thoughts of being here in Palestine.”

Burlton’s creation, “This Landscape of Resolute Blooms”, conveys these ideas through its sheer poetry and composition. Burlton employed the use of the chaconne form for this piece, where a series of musical chords repeat continuously.

“This harmony in the case of this piece is able to persist again very dissonant sounds – dissonant sounds are sounds that don’t seem to go well together,” explains Shilleh. “And in this case, these sounds do not resolve.”

She says this is reflective of the reality of life in Palestine, and of the discomfort of change in a difficult and inconstant environment.

Despite unfavorable weather conditions, the musicians were pleasantly surprised by the audience’s reaction to their performance, with both evenings sold out. To their delight, even young children sat through the entire performance and enjoyed it thoroughly.

“Culture lives only if we all interact with it,” says Shilleh, “and the audience really delivered on that.”

Listen to the full interview on Vibes


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