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Saint Levant’s New Album Deira Pays Homage To His Palestinian Roots

Saint Levant, the multicultural marvel, releases his second album, Deira — an ode to his Palestinian roots.

Photo: Pedro Damasceno

Marwan Abdelhamid, aka Saint Levant, is one of the strongest voices in the musical world of the Middle East. At just 23-years-old, the singer has established himself as a name to know, not only in the region but globally, highlighting the beauty of the Gulf with his work.

For the uninitiated, the multilingual artist encapsulates the beauty of his many mother tongues in his music, which brings together Arabic, French and English to present a unique sound into the contemporary music realm. Born in Jerusalem to a Palestinian-Serbian father and French-Algerian mother, Saint Levant’s songs take inspiration from various cultures, and his first EP, From Gaza, With Love, was met with extremely positive reviews by fans. Now, it looks like he’s all set to dominate the scene once more with his brand new album, which launches today.

Saint Levant

Photo: Pedro Damasceno

Deira, produced by Saint Levant, Abdellah Messous, Khalil Cherradi, and more, is an album that blurs the lines between soft Afrobeats, North African melodies, and pop influences. The name of the album is inspired by Al Deira Hotel in Gaza, and envisions a future return to a free Palestine. Speaking about his latest project, Saint Levant shares, “All Palestinian art from the last 75 years, whether Sliman Mansour’s paintings or Ghassan Kanafani’s poetry, always begins before the artist and always at the same point in time: the Nakba of 1948. Since then, the journey of catastrophe, displacement, and exile after 1948 is one every Palestinian continues to take, constantly dreaming of return and using whatever means of resistance along the way until rooted once more on their land.”

Saint Levant

Photo: Pedro Damasceno

Highlighting this message, Deira divulges into varying themes of love, displacement, identity, and culture, featuring collaborations with notable artists like Kehlani, 15-year-old Palestinian rapper MC Abdul, Sol Band, and Algerian phenomenon Cheb Bilal. The artist has also partnered with Palestinian-Jordanian artist Zeyne, who provided background vocals throughout the entire album, to incorporate an additional element of his heritage and bring Arab-pop and R&B elements into each track.

Deira is not only an homage to the architecture that is a poignant reminder of Levant’s home, but an artistic interpretation of hope for Palestine. He further alludes, “Deira embodies multiple journeys for me. The project’s title evokes a [now demolished] hotel overlooking the sea in Al-Rimal, Gaza City, designed and operated by my father since 2001. Al Deira Hotel was one of the most beautiful structures in the city and the place I called home as a child.” Adding, “Through the visual language of the project, the hotel is imagined as a locale of return: a destination where I will return to; a landmark symbolizing a free Palestine.”

Listen to Deira here.

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