Radio and TV


Reem Kelani, Soho Radio, June 2022.

Listen again to Reem's interview with the one and only Max Reinhardt, in which he plays music from her last two EPs:
1. The Singer Said - Bird of Dawn (a tribute to Mohammad Reza-Shajarian);
2. Why Do I Love Her? (The title track of the EP, Reem wrote the lyrics and music of this song to describe her anguished love for Palestine).

Listen here

BBC Radio 3

Reem Kelani, Palestine, Music Planet, June 2018.

British-Palestinian singer Reem Kelani explores the traditional music of Palestine from before and after 1948.

Listen here

BBC Arabic TV

Reem performed with her band at BBC Aan Korp Arabic Documentary Film Festival awards ceremony on 3 November 2014.

Click here to watch the full programme.

Lullabies from the Arab world - BBC World Service

You can hear this special edition of the Your World series, in which Reem is a lead contributor, which was first broadcast on 22 December 2012.

Click here to go to the BBC World Service website

Reem in concert at the Tabernacle, Notting Hill - BBC Arabic TV

Watch a report on and footage from Reem's concert on 22 November 2012.

Click here to go to BBC Arabic

Radio Hayes FM

Reem in interview with Paul Goodwin, July 2012.

This feature includes tracks from Sprinting Gazelle, alongside an in-depth conversation with Reem about her music and culture. Reem also gives a fascinating account of being in Tahrir Square at the time of the Egyptian Revolution.

Hayes FM

Songs for Tahrir - BBC Radio 4

Songs for Tahrir part 1 Songs for Tahrir part 2

Reem Kelani explores the role of music in the Egyptian revolution of 2011.

You can also listen to the programme via the BBC website:
Songs for Tahrir. Written & presented by Reem Kelani. Produced by Megan Jones

Read Reem's programme blog:
Songs for Tahrir: What makes a composer a legend? And what makes a revolt a revolution?

Press reviews:
Reem Kelani's journey from occupied territories to occupied Tahrir
"Music.....implies a lifestyle, a vocation - and dedication to the craft. Kelani is a musician who doesn't live from one concert to the next; each of her on-stage performances, each lecture she gives, is in fact a small stepping stone on a much more profound artistic and personal journey. Along with her captivating voice and her understanding of her musical material, it is a life-long process of self discovery and creative development..."
al-Ahram English, 23 February 2012
Ati Metwaly

'Songs for Tahrir': Music for and from liberation
"The narrative that Kelani creates is both unobtrusive and essential. She gives a sense of the revolution as ongoing, a sense of music as integral to protest… It collapses artificial distinctions between art and politics, as she describes the way singing sustained protest."
al-Masry al-Youm, 26 January 2012
Naira Antoun

Traditions of Tahrir
"Her account is an important corrective to all the hype in the Western media....... Kelani in no way tries to marginalize the more "modern" features of the Tahrir music scene in favor of the traditional… The point, rather, is how deeply rooted contemporary Egyptians and their art are in their national tradition."
MERIP (Middle East Research and Information Project), 25 January 2012
Ted Swedenburg

Listeners' feedback:

"Songs for Tahrir: best thing I've heard on radio in yonks. Brilliant work."
Matthew Teller, January 2012

"Essential listening."
Max Reinhardt, January 2012

"Incredible BBC Radio 4 documentary by the wonderful Reem Kelani. It took me back to Tahrir!"
Nesreen N. Hussein, January 2012

"This is the BEST half hour of radio I have listened to in ages... Thanks to Reem Kelani for this program."
Mowafaq Abdelghani, United Egyptians, January 2012

"This is what I call GREAT radio!"
Gil, Davis, California, USA, January 2012

"I still think about Reem Kelani's amazing talk over at the music dept at the beginning of last term, it really stuck with me. At the time I was going through a Derrida phase and her exploration of how different regional 'dialects' of musical modes slip 'through' notation (the dead clef!), and the politics of how music defies notation (or the context in which it dares to step outside of established modes) was fascinating. Reem's an awesome speaker too. "
Vivian, January 2012

"Blessed is the technology that makes it to possible to listen hours later! It was beautiful, such a strong message and deep understanding of the Egyptians, which reduced me to tears almost through the whole programme."
Hana, UK / Egypt, January 2012

"Just to express my delight at hearing Reem Kelani's Songs from Tahrir which was on Radio 4 last week. I'm an Arabic teacher and find it's so rare that there's anything detailed about Arabic culture, music or history (other than the UK perspective of it!) on UK TV. It's provided me with many ideas and resources for my Egyptian students in particular - as bellydancers, they've approached learning Arabic from an interest in and fascination with classical and contemporary Egyptian pop music so this programme was a treasure trove for them.
Thank you!" "
Ruth, January 2012

"It's a year since the Arab Spring reached Tahrir square in Cairo. I've read some pieces written for the anniversary, but nothing I've read so far has the immediacy and sense of hope for the future (even though there is much still to be achieved) of Reem Kelani's programme 'Songs for Tahrir', recorded when she met Egyptian musicians and political activists in Cairo, and broadcast on Radio 4 on Wednesday 18th January. Definitely worth listening to if you have half an hour to spare. As I write this I'm listening to Reem Kelani's CD of Palestinian songs Sprinting Gazelle that I bought several years ago and hadn't listened to for a while, so I was glad of the reminder of that too."
Chaiselongue, January 2012

Radio Nisaa FM from Ramallah

Reem in interview (in Arabic) with Nisreen Awwad, 6 July 2011.

Radio Nisaa FM

Woman's Hour - BBC Radio 4

Listen to Reem's music in this programme looking at the work of Palestinian painter Laila Shawa as part of the series Treasures of the British Museum on BBC Radio 4, 12 November 2009.

Click here to go to the BBC Radio Woman's Hour website

Salome: Dance Of The Seven Veils - BBC Radio 4

Produced for BBC Radio 4, Reem explored the history of the Dance Of The Seven Veils, from its supposed origins as a dance of the goddess Ishtar, to its notorious transformations in the 1890s onwards, as it began to reflect major changes in politics, culture and attitudes to women, October 2007.

Listen to the programme here

Click here to see Gillian Reynolds' preview in the Daily Telegraph

Cambridge 105

Reem in interview with Nick Skelton aka DJ Skunk, April 2006.

A detailed and intimate conversation about Reem's origins and music, interspersed with sample clips.

Cambridge 105

Everywoman - BBC World Service

Reem Kelani talks to Anna Umbima about her work on Palestinian music, and plays some of her original DAT interviews with older Palestinian women, plus tracks from her debut CD ‘Sprinting Gazelle’ on BBC World Service, 21 February 2006.

BBC Everywoman

Woman's Hour - BBC Radio 4

Listen again to Martha Kearney's interview of Reem on BBC Radio 4, 14 February 2006.

Click here to go to the BBC Radio Woman's Hour website

Copysnatchers - BBC Radio 4

Download the essays written and read by Reem on the programme in PDF format
(essays will open in PDF format in new browser window):

Do Still Waters Run Deep? (Essay 1 of 3)
On Hospitality (Essay 2 of 3)
Coffee-Snatchers (Essay 3 of 3)

Distant Chords - BBC Radio 4

Reem had long been concerned about the tendency of the "World Music" industry to overlook the migrant talent in their midst in favour of the perceived exoticism of the artist from afar. She got her chance to show the diversity in Britain when she was commissioned in 2001 by BBC Radio 4 to write and present a series of documentaries exploring the music of migrant and exiled communities in the UK. The first series of 3 programmes was soon followed by a second.

Links to programme information:
Series Two featured:

- "My Book, My Mountain, Myself" on the Armenian community

- "Kiribati - Islands Here, Islands There" on the Micronesian community

- "A Strange Way of Living" (Estranha Forma de Vida) on the Portuguese community

Produced by Tony Phillips

Series One featured:

- "Can you stop the Birds Singing" on the Afghan community

- "Songs on a Mountain Wind" on the Kurdish community

- "Yemeni Echoes in a Northern Town" on the Yemeni community

Produced by Neil McCarthy

Press Coverage:
Greed is Good
The Guardian, 24 January 2003
Charlotte Higgins

Pick of the Day
The Guardian, 7 January 2003
Harold Jackson

Listeners' feedback:
(as emailed to the official Distant Chords website)

"Reem has a superb way of interacting with people, and the enthusiasm and directness of the people on the programme was just superb... You cannot appreciate how important these programmes are in the current climate of anxiety… These programmes are essential to strengthen the bridge of humanity that exists between various communities in the UK."
Omer Rana, January 2003

"Thanks for such a wonderful lunchtime programme. 'Distant Chords' has been a very moving musical journey. As a Jewish musician working in Bristol, I have felt a sense of connection with these other diasporic traditions."
Jon Stein, January 2003

"I found this programme very moving and beautiful. Reem Kelani provides insights and associations which strike a chord for anyone living in exile, and I'm sure is equally evocative to native listeners."
Hanna Braun, January 2003

"I was impressed by Reem Kelani's genuine understanding, her empathetic approach and her bold confidence in speaking of the Armenian genocide frankly and appropriately."
Maral Kojayan, Voice of Nor Serount, Issue 62, February 2003.

The Unholy Land - Channel Four TV

Directed by Colin Luke on behalf of Mosaic Films Production. Associate Producer, translation, sub-titling, as well as music for this series to mark Channel Four's "Israel 50" season, 1998.

Your Land is My Land - BBC Radio 4

Produced by Vanessa Harrison for BBC Radio 4 and presented by Tim Llewellyn. Reem researched and performed poetry and traditional Palestinian songs and music for a documentary series to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel, 1998.

A Day in the Life of a Palestinian Woman - BBC World Service

Produced by Sara Bradshaw for BBC World Service. Reem co-presented (alongside Suzanna Carney-Nour), provided translation into Arabic and sang in a series of English language teaching programmes. Inputs also included research and advice on the signature tune, 1995.

See No Evil - BBC 2 TV

Directed by Stephen Walker for BBC Everyman. Reem devised original music and did simultaneous interpreting and sub-titling for this TV documentary, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre in Beirut, 1992.