Amal Murkus

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Amal Murkus
Background information
Born Kafr Yasif
Occupation(s) Singer
Website Amal Murkus on Myspace

Amal Murkus (Arabic: أمل مرقس‎, Hebrew: אמל מורקוס‎) is a Palestinian singer who lives and performs in Israel.[1] Her post-modern music style has a variety of Mediterranean influences. Her first album, Amal, was released in 1998, and her second, Shauq, in 2004. Her songs take inspiration by Palestinian folklore, traditional Arabic heritage, and pop music elements, and express the struggle against the marginalization and exclusion that Arab Palestinian culture feels.cit req

Early life[edit]

Murkus was born and raised in the Arab town of Kafr Yasif in Galilee, and has devoted her career to promoting Palestinian music and culture in Israel and abroad. Murkus has been performing since she was five years old. In 1979, she won first prize in the Israeli Arab children's song festival, and went on to graduate from the Institute for Stage Art in Tel Aviv in 1990.cit req

Musical career[edit]

Murkus is a member of the counseling board of Free Muse, an organization working against the censorship of art and music. She took an active part in its congress in Denmark in 2003. Amal is currently studying art as a tool for social change at Musrara College in Jerusalem.ref req

Murkus appears regularly on TV in various educational and cultural programs. She has also appeared in feature films and was nominated for the Israeli Oscar for her performance in Ali Nasar's movie The Milky Way. In 2003, Murkus won 'Best Actress' at the Haifa Theatre Festival. Her extensive vocal range and abilities enable Murkus to sing in a wide variety of genres, from traditional Arab to modern popular western styles. As a result, she has created some remarkable collaborations with other artists and international musicians, including Joan Baez in an anti-war concert that took place in Tel Aviv in 1988; Mercedes Sosa; Oliver Shante, Germany; Stadio, Italy; the Greek singer Glykeria; Noa; Anwar Ebrahem from Tunisia, Enzo Avetable of Italy; Nana Caymmi in Brazil; Robert Wyatt in the UK and The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (UK) in 2005, and many others.

Murkus has also completed projects with the Palestinian poets Mahmoud Darwish in Nazareth in 2000 and Kafr Yasif in 1999, and Samih al-Qasim in 2006. Murkus has received many commendations for her unique art and music and for her work with local communities.

In 2001, Murkus was chosen by Austrian TV as one of the most beautiful voices of the 20th century, after taking part in a music film produced by the ARTE TV "Premadonas Fest", by the director-musician Andrew Heller, with Jesse Norman and Harris Alexiou, D.D. Bridgewater and others. Her first album, self-entitled “Amal” was written and composed by a diverse group of artists and musicians. It was released internationally in 2000 by EMI Hemisphere.

Her second album Shauq ("Longing") was recorded live in April 2004, at the Crown Hall in Jerusalem, with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Her third album is Na'na' ya Na'na' ("peppermint, O peppermint").

Past performances: Amal has appeared in an array of international music festivals, including: Womex (Spain); Festival Of Arab Arts (Liverpool, UK); Bath Festival (UK); Tudos Os Cuntus De Nondos (Brazil); "Almadina" (Tunisia); Ethnos (Italy); Ethnic Music Festival (Sicily); The Whit Night (Naples); The Jubilee Day Live Show (Vatican 2000);The Dho Ziff, Festival Of World Culture (Ireland);"Elias Crean" (Madrid); Casa De Arab Official Evening (Madrid); Tira & Peace (San Marino); "Voices " (Luxemburg); and The Royal Festival (London). Yaffa Cafe and Bookshop December 8, 2007 Jaffa Israel.

Amal has toured in Italy, Germany, France, Russia, Brazil, Spain, Denmark, Bulgaria, Greece and others. Compilations & Guest Appearances: 1998 Seven Times Seven – Oliver Shanty and Friends (Satva Music Germany) 1999 Voices From The World – Various Artists (NMC) 1999 Sweet Sorrw, Glykeria – Amal featured on the Single “The Mothers Prayer" (NMC) 1999 Radio Darwesh, Amal appeared as a guest performing 2 Songs (Polygram Italy) 2000, In Paradiso Conte, Duet With "Stadio" (EMI Italy) 2002 Majles Arab Songs (Virgin) 2002 Ethno (Eros, Greece) 2003 EMI Australia 2005 Label Bleu – France. 2007 Putumayo – World Music USA.

Amal has been given a big amount of attention when she was featured alongside the Palestinian rap group DAM in their critically acclaimed single and video clip "If I Could Go Back In Time" on YouTube from the group's album "Dabkeh On The Moon".

Political activism[edit]

Amal considers herself a "Palestinian singer", and believes that her national pride is a cause of disconcert for many Israeli Jews. Her feminism has led to several conflicts with the Islamic Movement in Israel, which demanded that her performances be cancelled during the Ramadan.[citation needed] She says "I refused to cancel. I knew that this was not the real reason, since singing during Ramadan is not forbidden. I suppose that the people from the Islamic Movement are bothered by my social agenda. I criticize not only the Jews, but also what is happening in my own society. I call for the liberation and empowerment of women. I believe that women hold the key – if they do not progress, society will not progress. But the Islamic Movement does not want women to progress. It wants us to remain in the dark".[2]

In August 2008 Amal sang at the birthday of Maria Amman, a Palestinian girl from the Gaza Strip who lost her mother, two of her brothers, her aunt and her grandmother after her house was hit by an IDF projectile, which also left Maria severely injured and almost completely paralyzed. Murkus said that she was trying to "give Maria a mother's attention, not just my songs, in a humble attempt to fill a tiny bit of the void left in her life. I came today to utter Maria's voice. The voice of Palestinian children, who are victimized by the war. The State should allow Maria and her family to stay, in order for her to receive the best treatment possible; that would be the least the State can do in order to make up for what has happened to this child".[3]


2011 Baghani (I Sing)

2007 Na'na' ya Na' na' (peppermint). Palestinian Folklore Renaissance.

  1. "Marshoosha"
  2. "A'lrozana"
  3. "Ah ya asmar"
  4. "A'taa'na el-Nasrawiyyat"
  5. "El-Saber"
  6. "Skaba"
  7. "Na'na ya Na'na"
  8. "Tae'i al fay"
  9. "Hayman"
  10. "Bhallelak"
  11. "Yallah eigheth"
  12. "Tahat el-Khail"
  13. "Hamam el-dar"
  14. "A'zzab el Jammal"[4]

2004 " Shawq" (Longing)

1998 "Amal" (Hope) self-titled.


  • CalvinQo Presents Amal Murkus-Ya Oud(Original Mix)-2009
  • Israeli Made a Remix for the song Ya Oud


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Korpe, 2004, p. 227.
  2. ^ Shalev, Ben (December 13, 2007). "Songs for which folks?". Haaretz. Retrieved December 25, 2008. 
  3. ^ Waked, Ali (August 28, 2008). "Paralyzed Gaza girl celebrates birthday in Jaffa". Ynetnews. Retrieved December 25, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Amal Murkus Productions". MySpace. 2007. 


  • Korpe, Marie (2004). Shoot the Singer!: Music Censorship Today. Zed Books. ISBN 9781842775059.