In a tribute to Palestinian culture, Saint Levant and MC Abdul join forces to release ‘Deira’, which sees the two Gazan artists showcase their talents in traditional Shaabi arab musical style. Having recently signed to the iconic Universal Arabic Music (UAM), a label founded by Wassim ‘Sal’ Slaiby, manager of The Weeknd and CEO of XO, “Deira’ marks an exciting milestone in Saint Levant’s career. 

“Deira is the name of the hotel that my father Rashid, an architect, built with my mother in 2000 when they moved to Gaza. Deira means The Kasbah or the old city. He built this hotel with mud because it was impossible to import cement at the time. Located on the beach, this hotel was one of the most beautiful in Gaza, made up of 22 rooms. It was a true architectural marvel. On July 16, 2014, four children playing ball out front of the hotel were killed by Israeli rocket fire and most recently the hotel was totally destroyed by bombing 3 months ago.

This song is also a celebration of Palestinian daily life. With a sound inspired by Dahmane El Harrachi, considered the great master of Algerian chaâbi, Deira is anchored in Algerian culture through its sound (where my mother is from) and in Palestinian culture through its words (the land of my father). Deira represents represents a mix of my parents’ cultures” T-Saint Levant

On the track and in the video, Saint Levant collaborates with MC Abdul, a talented Palestinian rapper who is fifteen years old and originates from Gaza. The music video shows life in the Arab world through a romantic, nostalgic lens that is rarely front and center in depictions of the region.

MC Abdul said: “I’m so happy for this release. It was such an exciting experience for me to be part of this song. This is for my people, this song is for Palestine. And I’m happy I shot this in Jordan with my brother Saint Levant. I can’t wait for us to perform it together.

The past few months have been very tough on me. I got out of Gaza a month before the war started so I can wrap up some songs and make new releases for my fans. I never realized things would go completely upside down. Some of my family members, friends, neighbors and relatives have passed away from the war. Music is my therapy and I wanted to express myself through this amazing song. It is my comeback song since a few months ago. I will always speak out and represent the culture.”

Saint Levant, a singer, rapper, and songwriter of Palestinian, Algerian, French, and Serbian descent, is currently based in Los Angeles. 

MC Abdul, a 15 year old Palestinian rapper from Gaza who spreads peace, love and unity through music and has become a viral sensation. 

*Dahmane El Harrachi, an Algerian Chaâbi singer with Chaoui heritage, gained recognition as the most renowned Chaabi artist through his widely translated and acclaimed song, “Ya Rayah.” He relocated to France in 1949, initially residing in Lille and Marseille, before finally establishing himself in Paris.

*Chaabi, a traditional music genre originating from Algiers, Algeria, is deeply rooted in the historic Casbah. Despite its relatively recent inception in the 1930s, chaabi music has retained its immense popularity to this day. This vibrant style is characterized by melancholic vocals in Arabic and Berber, harmonizing with the orchestral accompaniment of a twelve-member ensemble. This ensemble consists of violins and mandolins whose melodies fluctuate and intertwine with the evocative piano notes while being complemented by the rhythmic beats of percussion instruments.

*Aï, also referred to as rai, is an Algerian folk music genre that originated in the 1920s. Unlike Chaabi singers who are called sheikh, performers of Raï are known as cheb. This musical tradition emerged primarily among the impoverished communities of Oran city.

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