And we love life if we find a way to it.

We dance in between martyrs and raise a minaret for violet or palm trees.

We love life if we find a way to it.

And we steal from the silkworm a thread to build a sky and fence in this departure.

We open the garden gate for the jasmine to step out on the streets as a beautiful day.

We love life if we find a way to it.

And we plant, where we settle, some fast growing plants, and harvest the dead.

We play the flute like the color of the faraway, sketch over the dirt corridor a neigh.

We write our names one stone at a time, O lightning brighten the night.

We love life if we find a way to it… -- Mahmoud Darwish


Al Manara (meaning The Beacon) is a Belgian-Palestinian ensemble built on the collaborative juices and musical dialogue occurring between Ramzi and the Belgian pianist, conductor and composer Éloi Baudimont. The pair was introduced by Yanic Samzun, Secretary General of Cultural Presence and Action (PAC*), who viewed the two artists as possessing both great passion and the ability to cross musical boundaries. The repertoire builds on Ramzi’s and Éloi’s compositions, poems of the beloved Mahmoud Darwish, and an East-West blending of Palestinian melodies, European polyphony, big-band harmonies, Arabic and European instruments, and a host of historic and contemporary influences that have taken Ramzi into a yet-uncharted exploration of the possibilities brought to life by the bouzouq. The ensemble has toured France, Belgium and Palestine and has released one CD to date.

“We spent a year discovering each other,” says Ramzi. “I didn’t want to make any concessions w. Al Manara, to adapt the Arabic music collage-style just so it functions with Western music. I asked Éloi to do the same, to not make concessions. Al Manara is both an artistic and humanistic project, because it is based on the musicians who are involved. We chose to work with the texts of Mahmoud Darwish, because their subjects are universal. His poems reflect my story, the story of every Palestinian, and of every person who just wants to live.”

*Présence et Action Culturelles (PAC) is a Brussels based organization and movement that promotes education, culture, and social justice. Yanic Samzun passed away in December 2014.



Al Manara is a musical voyage between East and West, bridged through the universal poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, the personal and musical rapport of two artists who left musical concessions outside the door, and the emotional charge that such a commitment carries within it for the ensemble member and for the listeners.



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