Just one week after the outbreak of the First Intifada in 1987, Riad brought his sisters Hanan, Alia and Nariman together in their living room and began recording The Intifada album on equipment he had made himself. One of these was co-written with their friend, the acclaimed Palestinian writer Mahmoud Darwish. Riad printed 3000 copies of the cassettes which he began distributing in the Old City of Jerusalem and across the West Bank. The Israeli Army immediately confiscated all the copies they could find, the vast majority of which remain in the military archives to this day. Riad was arrested, interrogated and detained for several months. Straight after his release, he formed a band, Palestinian Union, and put out a new album. He then founded a school, offering kids in the West Bank an alternative musical education, teaching them how to create their own electronic equipment. In 2005, Riad was tragically killed in a car accident. His legacy lives on through his family, his timeless music and his powerful story, which continues to inspire to this day.
Over several years, Mo’min Swaitat has amassed an archive of rare tapes and vinyl from Palestine and beyond. Many of these were acquired from a former record label in his hometown Jenin, in the north of the West Bank. Majazz Project is a research project and record label borne out of the archive, focused around sampling, remixing and reissuing vintage Palestinian and Arabic musical heritage.
Reissued by: Majazz Project, 2022
Written, composed and performed by: Riad Awwad
Lyrics by: Mahmoud Darwish and Hanan Awwad
Chorus: Nariman Awwad and Alia Awwad
Curated and mastered by: Mo’min Swaitat
Artwork by: Ahmed El Khalidi