“An experimental music project that’s longing for the past with all its memories and nostalgia, while acknowledging the present in a new home and environment”
It’s no secret that fans of a certain piece of art are people who identify with and relate to it. That was the case when I came across Jerusalem in My Heart back in 2013, during a desperate search of music I can remember home with, and still enjoy my “Western” electronic sound preferences. Jerusalem in My Heart is an experimental music project that’s longing for the past with all its memories and nostalgia, while acknowledging the present in a new home and environment, trying to create a peaceful place in the middle; where people can visit to let go of over attachment to one culture. A bridge we can cross from time to time without having to feel entitled to one thing. To me, as a displaced person, this project is a very successful and genuine attempt to document the sound of adaptation to the new surrounding, without completely letting go of the past.
It was started by Lebanese producer Radwan Ghazi Moumneh; who immigrated to Canada with his family following the civil war in Beirut in 1993. He’s currently a very important and known figure in the Montreal independent music community, contributing to many of the records by local musicians at Hotel2Tango: a cult studio he owns with other well known musicians and producers.
The project heavily relies on interaction of sound and visuals to create a multidimensional theatrical action.That’s why it’s been hard to translate that to record, according to Moumneh. Luckily though, there are two Jerusalem in My Heart albums available at the moment: “Mo7it Al-Mo7it” (Ocean of the Ocean)-2012 and “If He Dies, If If If If If If”-2015; both embracing their ancient Middle Eastern culture background and references, in a contemporary form.
A track called “Yudaghegh Al-Ra3ey Wala Al-Ghanam” (He Titillates the Shepherd, but not the Sheep) got my attention when I listened to the debut album for the first time; making me feel like walking into some sort of Arab-themed dance club. Moumneh repeats the title of the song over two accelerated synth lines for three minutes:
Radwan’s highly literary work of complex Arabic poetry and buzuk music mixed with Western contemporary electronic sounds continues throughout both albums, but the whole Jerusalem in My Heart experience is not complete without the visuals that accompany music during live shows. Charles-Andre Coderre is the man responsible for that at the moment. Every show has its own hand-made film loops ready to be projected on multiple screens. Another reason why there’s no two similar Jerusalem in My Heart shows.
Finally, to get the full idea, I highly recommend you watch the video below. It’s a full live set that Radwan and Charles-Andre recently performed at Studio 6 in Belgrade, Serbia:
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