Press Release

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Ibn Rushd Award 2013 goes to

Palestinian Singer-Songwriter

The Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought is delighted to declare the singer-songwriter Rim Banna the winner of the 15th Ibn Rushd Award. Since 1998, the Ibn Rushd Fund has honoured people or organizations that have rendered outstanding services to freedom of thought in the Arab World. The award will be presented on November 15, 2013 in the Museum for Islamic Art, Berlin, Germany.

For the Palestinian singer, songwriter and composer Rim Banna, music is the most important means of cultural self-assertion. She claims respect and dignity for her people with her artistry and personal integrity. After studying singing and conducting at the High Institute for Music in Moscow, she moved back to Nazareth and began her research into Arab cultural heritage. One step on this path was her participation in the various-artists release ‘Lullabies from the Axis of Evil’; the seminal work of her career to date traces the rebellious spirit she finds inherent in Arab culture.

Rim Banna, who has since her youth advocated the rights and the freedom of the Palestinian people, was one of the first Arab artists to solidarise with the activists in various Arab countries and to draw attention to their situation and their just cause. It was already during her concerts in Arab countries in the years before the revolution that she ‘sensed the rebellious spirit,’ as she says, and set out to trace it in Arabic poetry. She found this spirit reaching from classical Persian and Andalusian verse to poetry written in today’s political prisons. After her research into this Pan-Arabic cultural heritage, she composed her own music for the poetry she had selected. She published the record resulting from this research on the second anniversary of the Arab revolutions in January 2013 and called it ‘Revelation of Ecstacy and Rebellion”; and her music and interpretation truly captured the rebellious spirit in the texts and became part of the Arab revolutions’ soundtrack.

The Ibn Rushd Prize 2013 had called for “a singer, songwriter, or band who poetically condenses the critical or creative thinking that is indispensable for change within society, and whose song texts deal with the quest for freedom, civil rights, and democracy, and call for implementing these changes.”

The award is financed exclusively by the Ibn Rushd Fund members’ fees and donations, and includes a 2500 Euro award also exclusively financed by membership fees and members’ donations. The winner was elected from among the publicly nominated candidates (18 candidates from 8 different Arab countries) by an independent jury which had been appointed by the Ibn Rushd Fund due to their knowledge in the field of contemporary popular music.

The members of the jury are Lotfi Bouchnak from Tunisia, Prof. Ghawi Ghawi from Palestine, Malek Jandali from Syria, Naseer Shamma from Irak.  All members of the jury have worked for the Fund in an honorary capacity.

For more detailed information see: Ibn Rushd Prize 2013

Ibn Rushd Fund for Freedom of Thought


13357 Berlin


Tel. +49 (0) 30 32664-721

Fax +49 (0) 30 32664-722




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