Reem was born in England, brought up in Kuwait and now lives in London. Working in the Diaspora, Reem has introduced countless non-Arab musicians to Arabic and Palestinian music.
Reem's reputation as an artist for whom her independence is an article of faith, musically, spiritually and politically, extends across the Arab and the non Arab worlds.
She has led major tours with her band to the UAE (2000), Greece (2000 & 2006), Belgium (2006 & 2008), Syria (2007 & 2009), Turkey (2005 & 2008), Ireland (2010), China (2010 & 2011), and Seattle (2008 & 2013).
Reem has also performed solo and with local musicians in major concerts in Kuwait (1988 & 1989), Los Angeles (1992 & 1993), Palestine (1993 & 2000), Lebanon (1998), and Canada (1993, 1994, 1999 & 2013).
* As a soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, an on-stage band and a choir of 250 in Norway (2014);
* Joint concerts with the exceptional Turkish collective Kardes Türküler (2009 and 2014);
* Reem co-composed Cry Palestine, a 60 minute work, alongside Harvey Brough and Justin Butcher. The piece received its premiere in December 2013, in which Reem performed as the soloist alongside Vox Holloway choir;
* From a leading Palestinian family, with a pedigree Muslim lineage, Reem was given the honour by Greenbelt Festival of leading the entire congregation in song at its Sunday service (2009);
* Joint concert with the late Turkish Roma clarinet virtuoso Selim Sesler (2008);
* "From Palestine to Portugal" with Portuguese Fado singer Liana (2008), a unique mixing of Arabic and Portuguese voices, of Fado and Arabic music, and of the verse of Palestinian national poet, Mahmoud Darwish, and Portuguese Nobel laureate, Jose Saramago;
* Duo Jazz project with the outstanding Jazz pianist Bruno Heinen (from 2007);
* Reem composed "Paradise in Strangers" for and led the Beating Wing Orchestra, an ensemble of locally based refugee musicians, in a performance at Manchester International Festival (2007);
a) The Arts Council of England 2013. Reem was awarded funding for her work on Classical Egyptian Music, encompassing specialist training in Cairo and a programme of workshops in schools and with community groups across the UK;
b) Arab-British Culture and Society Award Nomination 2013 – a special commendation for Reem’s “notable contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the life, society and culture of the Arab people”;
c) BBC Alba’s A’Gharaids series, featuring a special collaboration by Reem Kelani and Gaelic singer Catriona Watt, nominated for the Scottish Traditional Music Awards 2009;
d) Arab-British Culture and Society Award Nomination 2008 – a special commendation for Reem’s “notable contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the life, society and culture of the Arab people”;
e) Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Fund Nomination, 2007;
f) Glastonbury Unsigned Bands finalist 2005.
a) “Celebrating Subversion - The Anti-Capitalist Roadshow“, 2012.
Label: Fuse Records
The ACR is a collective of singers and songwriters. Reem contributed two songs to this joint album: the first, Babour Zammar, a popular Tunisian anthem, and Song of the Olive Tree in which she sings in a duo with the song's author, Leon Rosselson.
b) “Sprinting Gazelle - Palestinian Songs from the Motherland and the Diaspora”
Label: Fuse Records
Best of 2006: Financial Times, Time Out & New Internationalist
More than 50 first class reviews from across the world.
Reem will be releasing her second album "Reem Kelani: Live at the Tabernacle" in November 2015. For details and to order a copy, go to Reem's website.
Reem Kelani’s tracks