Video Premiere: The Drowning Valley by Phonodelica (Donia Jarrar)

The sweeping, cinematic quality of The Drowning Valley by Phonodelica (Donia Jarrar) evokes the vast landscape of Palestine’s Sanur Lake, situated among the northern mountains of the West Bank. Undulating and lamenting melodies ebb and flow as string pizzicatos fall like raindrops. Cast under a deep oceanic light are violinists Kate Outterbridge and Xenia Deviatkina-Loh, violist Cassia Streb, and cellist Jennifer Bewerse, who join Donia Jarrar on piano.

The Drowning Valley is Part 1 of a large-scale collaborative work titled “Into the Ether and Out of Our Anguish,” which earned Donia the 2021 Palestinian Young Artist of the Year Award from the A.M. Qattan Foundation. Working with Gaza-based artists Shareef Sarhan and Rana Batrawi, the project comprises solo piano improvisations, string quartets, field recordings, and testimonials from survivors of violence inflicted on Palestinians. Together, these multimedia elements imagine a liberated Palestine and pay respect to the nature and landscape of the Gaza valley.

Phonodelica (Donia Jarrar)--Photo by Adrian Hernandez

Phonodelica (Donia Jarrar)–Photo by Adrian Hernandez

Here’s what Donia had to say about The Drowning Valley:

Sanur Lake is present in Palestinian oral and written folk stories as a sign of the abundance of rainwater. Located in the northern occupied West Bank, in Jenin, its valley transforms into a grey, shallow lake after the rainy winter season, giving it the nickname “The Drowning Valley.” Jenin, my father’s home village, is part of a coastal strip extending along the Mediterranean Sea. However, most occupied West Bank Palestinians do not know this coast and have never been able to visit it because Israel’s Apartheid Wall has turned the territory into isolated cantons.

Sanur Lake is located in an area surrounded by a mountain chain in the towns of Sanur, Meithalun, al-Judeida, Siris, Sir, Misilyah, and Jarba. The mountain chains are the reason for the rainfall accumulation, and the lake — while beautiful to witness for most — means the destruction of crops for Palestinian farmers. The Ministry of Agriculture has been unable to solve the problem. In the past, the drowning valley only appeared every decade or so, but due to climate change, the lake is now a permanent fixture in the winter.

The Drowning Valley is out December 15, and you can pre-order the EP on Bandcamp.

About Phonodelica

Phonodelica is the experimental sound project of composer, pianist and producer Donia Jarrar. HIDDEN ASSEMBLAGES, coming out on limited edition casette in January 2022 on Deathbomb Arc, is the first album in a trilogy highlighting the different sides of the artist’s spirituality and sexuality as a Muslim woman, both light and dark. Born to an Egyptian mother and Palestinian father, Jarrar grew up between Kuwait City, Alexandria, Ramallah and New York. Her personal experiences have strongly shaped her compositional voice, leading her to explore themes of intergenerational memory, trauma, identity, exile, displacement, and cultural narrative. She is known for her unique use of field recordings, working with oral histories and their relationship to the composition and shaping of new musical works across varying genres. Jarrar holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan. She is based in Los Angeles.Follow Donia on Twitter and Instagram.


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