Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 October 2020

'One of the most inspiring songs I have ever heard': eL Seed, Hend Sabry and Dorra Zarrouk appear in 'Kelmti Horra' music video

Tunisian singer Emel Mathlouthi brought together 53 artists to film a remote rendition of her famous anthem

Dorra Zarrouk, eL Seed and Hend Sabry are among the famous faces that appear in the remotely filmed music video for Emel Mathlouthi’s 'Kelmti Horra'
Dorra Zarrouk, eL Seed and Hend Sabry are among the famous faces that appear in the remotely filmed music video for Emel Mathlouthi’s 'Kelmti Horra'

It has been performed in countries around the world, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. And now Kelmti Horra has reached perhaps its biggest audience yet.

Drawing together a 53-member-strong group of musicians, artists, singers and actors, Tunisia's Emel Mathlouthi has created a star-studded rendition of her famous anthem, which was released on YouTube on Monday, July 13.

French-Tunisian artist eL Seed, and actresses Dorra Zarrouk and Hend Sabry are among the talents that lent their vocals to the reimagined recording, as well as submitting clips that have been woven together in an eight-minute video.

Ahmad Joudeh, a Syrian dancer, Palestinian singer Omar Kamal, Tunisian actress Maram Ben Aziza, Mashrou' Leila's Hamed Sinno and Firas Abou Fakher, and Lebanese singer Jahida Wehbe also appear in the video.

Tunisian poet Amine El Ghozzi, Algerian actor Ahmed Zitouni, Lebanese singer Tania Saleh, Tunisian actor Dhafer Labidine and Syrian singer Faia Younan can also be spotted in the clip.

Mathlouthi was galvanised to create the video during the pandemic, hoping to share a message of "unity, human connection and empathy".

“I feel hopeful and proud that this amazing group of talented artists from different horizons and different backgrounds and cultures came together for this tribute to freedom and justice,” she said. “Everyone added their own touch, their own interpretation, their own emotion, from their own experiences and perspective."

Every participant – spanning 22 nationalities in total – sent in self-filmed clips taken on their phones for the project.

The protest track, first released as part of Mathlouthi's 2012 album of the same name, was penned by the Tunis-born singer in 2007.

Kelmti Horra, which translates as ‘My Word Is Free’, became an anthem of both the Tunisian revolution and the 2011 Arab uprisings, and Mathlouthi later sang it at the awards ceremony for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.

"This song, for me and for millions of Tunisians, was the voice of a social uproar that took us all by storm," said Sabry, as the video was released.

"Kelmti Horra is one of the most inspiring and uplifting songs I have ever heard," added eL Seed. "The beauty of the melody, the depth of the lyrics make it a classic."

Updated: July 14, 2020 08:54 AM

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