Rim Banna, a Palestinian singer-song writer, composer, arranger and activist, was born in Nazareth, Galilee, on December 8, 1966.
During her studies at at the Gnesins’ Academy of Music in Moscow she specialized in modern singing and conducting singing groups. She graduated in 1991.
Rim Banna is known for her modern interpretations of traditional Palestinian songs and poetry. She contributed to numerous international festivals and is a human rights activist. Rim Banna has dedicated a good part of her art work to children and produced three albums with songs for children, one of her specialities being blending traditional Palestinian lullabies with modern singing styles. Another part of her work consists in collecting traditional Palestinian texts and composing modern tunes for them, inspired by Palestinian folklore music and ancient Arabic music, but also from the inspiration of the music of other peoples of the world. In this way, these old songs and texts continue to exist for future generations and this heritage is preserved.
In 1985 Rim Banna released her debut album “Jafra”, her second album “Your tears Mother” came out in 1986. Both were produced during her times at the university, including recorded live performances of her songs. After these, the following albums came out:
- The Dream (1993)
- New Moon (1995)
- Mukaghat (1996)
- Al Quds Everlasting (2002)
- Krybberom (2003) Rim Banna & SKRUK
- The Mirrors of My Soul (2005, Valley Entertainment) which was dedicated to all the Palestinian and Arab political detainees in the Israeli prisons
- This was not my story (2006) Rim Banna & Henrik Koitz
- Seasons of violet (2007)
- April Blossoms (2009) an album for children, was dedicated to the children martyrs in Gaza
- “Tomorrow” (Bukra) 2011, a song by the American composer Quincy Jones, who had chosen Rim Banna to represent Palestine in this opera project
- Revelation of Ecstasy and Rebellion (2013), Produced by Bugge Wesseltoft
Rim Banna has contributed to several albums with international artists, including:
- 2004 Lullabies from the Axis of Evil
- 2008 Songs across Walls of Separation (2008 – Various artists from the Middle East, Africa, Central America, North America, and Europe)
- 2010 A Time to cry – A Lament over Jerusalem
Rim Banna held concerts around the world and participated in many international festivals representing Palestine – in Italy , France, Portugal , Spain, Jordan , Russia, Morocco, Norway, Switzerland , Egypt, Denmark , Turkey, Sweden , Romania, Czechoslovakia , Kazakhstan, Austria, Germany, Tunisia, India, Finland, Greece , Canada and the United Arab Emirates and the United States , Belgium, Hungary , Syria, Algeria and Bahrain.
Rim Banna composed the music of most of her songs and wrote the lyrics of some. She also composed the melody her mother’s song texts, the poet Zahira as-Sabbagh, most notably the songs “Sarah” and “Karmel ar-ruh – garden of the soul” and “It was not my story” and of the song texts of the poets Tawfiq Ziad, Rashid Hussein, Mahmoud Darwish, Samih al- Qasim, and Majed Abu Ghosh, as well as Sufi poems (Islamic mysticism) by Ibn al-Farid, Rabi’a al-Adawiya, Ibn Arabi, al-Hallaj and others.
Rim Banna received numerous international awards:
- 2000 “Palestine award for the song of the year” – for technical efficiency and the ability to offer songs from the depth of the Palestinian environment in a modern style.
- 1998 “Best of the Year” from the Governor of the city of Bagh – Tunisia.
- 1997 “Best of the Year” from the “Women’s Ministry”, Tunisia – Tunisia.
- 1996 Award of the city of Almaty/Kazakhstan during “The international festival of the song – the voice of Asia, 1996)
- 1996 Award of the “Ibsen National Theatre” (Norway).
- 1994 “Best of the Year” and she also received the title of “Ambassador of Peace” in Italy.