Belonging to The Land: Chai For All in Palestine

by David Mowat in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 24th April 2018 we successfully raised £2,458 with 54 supporters in 56 days

To co-create tour & record a new show about Human-Land relationship via a band study tour of Occupied Palestine, working with Palestinians.

by David Mowat in Bristol, England, United Kingdom

To co-create tour & record a new show about Human-Land relationship via a study tour of Occupied Palestine, working with Palestinians.

What do you see in this picture? I see  a Palestinian farmer (whose name I haven't discovered) who feels as if she is being torn from a tree, her beloved sister. Tree, woman, land feel part of the same body. Out of the frame are members of the occupying power, but it is not their story or even directly the story of resistance  we want to tell. 

It is the bigger story of our human relationship to Land, informed by the perspective of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories that we ask you to help us tell; a universal story from a particular place. We believe that a better relationship to The Land, to planet Earth, will bring salvation to all of us: farmer, settler, you and me; and it's in Palestine we begin.

We, a Bristol UK-based music and spoken word ensemble called 'Chai For All' have been awarded funding by Arts Council England and The British Council to go to Beit Sahur near Bethlehem from April 9 to 17 at the invitation of MishwArt, an arts collective developing Palestinian culture.

Michael Loader tells stories, David Mowat plays trumpet, Knud Stuwe guitar and oud, Simon Leach darbuka frame drums and blowy things, Katie Stevens clarinet and flutes, Marianna Moralis sings. Mark Smulian who plays bass and creates soundscapes is a part of this project but is not coming on the trip.

The funding covers air fares, David's time as project lead, tour organising and accommodation by  Kristel and Tariq Elayyan (more about their work here)

But there's a lot we need to raise through your help on crowdfunder. Funds raised here will cover

  • food and travel for us in Palestine
  • accommodation and subsistence for the wonderful Palestinian singer Zaid Hilal with whom we'll tour our new show in UK in June. Here is Zaid
  • subsidies to the income from UK concerts ensuring Chai For All receive a professional fee (about £140 each per gig depending on travel time)
  • time for lead composers in May
  • the cost of recording and making an album or film of our new show
  • contingencies (costs go up and there are always unexpected expenses)

What will we do in Palestine? Over eight days we'll jam with musicians, have lessons in Middle Eastern music, walk across olive groves listening to shepherds and be taken on an orientation tour by local guide Baha Hilo 

We'll perform our latest show 'Longing Belonging and Balfour' about the British responsibility for the Zionist programme, in Jerusalem, Haifa (in Israel) and in Beit Sahur

Finally we are invited to perform at the Nablus Festival on April 16

What will we do after the study tour in April? We will listen back to the recorded jams, ponder what we saw and heard, dialogue with our colleagues in Palestine and together create a new show during May.

In early June the plan is for Zaid Hilal to come over, we'll rehearse the show and will perform it in York, Leeds Bristol, Reading and Taunton. Other gigs may come in as well as workshops. Obviously we don't know anything about the new show yet, except that it'll be a combination of story-telling and music. Michael is important as the story teller who will engage with  the audience, eliciting responses, finding the common ground between Palestinian experiences and strong local feelings over belonging to the land: perhaps a council is chopping down beloved street trees or building on allotments, or a favourite woodland's been flytipped. Someone somewhere is abusing their power!

What's our track record? Our last show, Longing Belonging and Balfour, also funded by Arts Council England and through crowdfunder, was performed twelve times in 2017 around the UK to about 2,500 people. This included providing music for the prestigious Balfour Project event with a panel of religious leaders and Parliamentarians at Westminster Central Hall. In so far as we were criticised and praised by all sides for telling faithfully Palestinian, Jewish, Jewish Zionist and British stories of the Balfour Declaration story, we achieved our objectives. Our record of this and other projects is  here

So all in all, your support will go a long way to help us with our project. Together we can do it! Thank you


This project offers rewards in return for your donation

£20 or more

Longing Belonging and Balfour album

We are recording the album and aim to finish it by end of March. We can let you have a free download in May after our travels.

£30 or more

4 of 40 claimed

free show entry and album download

As well as the free download of our first album Longing Belonging and Balfour you can have free entry to a show of your choice in June 2018, probably in York Leeds Reading Bristol and Taunton

£50 or more


Your name will be listed as a sponsor in our tour programme

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