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Reem Kelani is a Palestinian musician, born in Manchester, England, and brought up in Kuwait. Initially influenced by the jazz music her father played on his record player, her interest in Palestinian music was sparked by the music at a family wedding in her maternal home in Galilee in the 1970s.
Kelani was born in Manchester, England, the daughter of Yousef Zaid Kelani (1925- ), a physician and endocrinologist from Yabad near Jenin in the West Bank, and Yusra Sharif Zu’bi (1931-2004), a homemaker from Nazareth in the Galilee.
Kelani is a maternal cousin of Haneen Zoabi, the first Palestinian Israeli woman to be elected to the Knesset, a relative of Shawkat Kelani, a prominent doctor and co-founder of An-Najah University in Nablus, and the great niece of Wajih al-Kaylani, Shaykh al-Islam of the Philippines.
Kelani started singing at the age of four, and she recalls it as one of the most profound experiences of her life. She continued singing as an amateur and semi-professional singer until she went professional in 1990. She studied piano as a child, and this helped expose her to Western classical music, of which her father was an avid listener. Her father’s early fascination with Fred Astaire’s black-and-white films introduced Kelani to the music of George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, the Jazz elements of which can be heard in her own music and in her choice of a band based around a Jazz rhythm section, alongside traditional Arabic instruments.
Kelani released her debut solo CD Sprinting Gazelle – Palestinian Songs from the Motherland and the Diaspora to critical acclaim in February 2006. Kelani is currently working on a CD paying tribute to the Egyptian composer Sayyid Darwish (1892–1923).
In addition to music performances, Kelani conducts workshops on Arabic and Palestinian music in schools, colleges, and at festivals. She is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio Four, having written and presented Distant Chords (2001-2003)  featuring the music of migrant communities in the UK. More recently, she wrote and presented Songs for Tahrir (2012) about her experiences of music in the uprising in Egypt in 2011.
- "Distant Chords". BBC Radio 4. 15–29 June 2003. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- "Songs for Tahrir". BBC Radio 4. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- Reem Kelani's home page
- Journal of Palestinian Refugee Studies, Spring 2012. Reem Kelani: "Sayyid Darwish: music to Palestinian ears". In her essay, Reem explains the relevance of the late Egyptian composer Sayyid Darwish to Palestinians (See pp 15–17)
- Ahram Online, 23 Feb 2012. Reem Kelani's journey from occupied territories to occupied Tahrir, by Ati Metwaly
- "The Art of War", International Arts Manager, Nov 2011 by Clare Wiley
- 'My narrative is that I exist', interview with Natalie Hanman, The Guardian 19 September 2008
- Sprinting Gazelle reviews
- Full biography
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