‘Kelmti Horra: My Word Is Free’, compiled from 100 video and audio tracks, features 53 musicians and artists from 22 different nationalities.
In light of the restrictions imposed due to Covid-19, Tunisian artist Emel Mathlouthi has created a quarantine video of Kelmti Horra, the title track of Mathlouthi’s first album, initially released in 2012.
Mathlouthi contacted artists from all over the world, specifically people she was inspired by, with the intention of sharing a powerful message of unity, human connection and empathy.
She asked each of the artists to record a short part of the song on their phones in DIY mode. The move resulted in a gathering of 53 musicians and artists from 22 different nationalities with over 100 video and audio tracks that were then cut in the editing room.
The lyrics of the song, which take bold stands in favour of freedom and justice for all, resonate today as oppression thrives worldwide. Mathlouthi believes that the response of her fellow artists is testament to the power of certain songs and melodies, which transcend language, geography and cultural differences.
Mathlouthi also performed the song at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, accompanied by the 66-piece Norwegian State Orchestra in 2015, in a tribute to her country, broadcast live to millions across the world.
“I feel hopeful and proud that this amazing group of talented artists from different horizons and different backgrounds and cultures came together for this tribute to freedom and justice.” Emel Mathlouthi said. “Everyone added their own touch, their own interpretation, their own emotion, from their own experiences and perspective. All united for freedom.”
The artists collaborating on the project were unanimous in their enthusiasm to participate in this project heralding a song that has come to represent the hopes and dreams of the Arab region.
Commenting on the collaboration music video, Dhafer Labidine, from Tunisia said: “I love everything about this song, the lyrics, the music and of course, what it stands for…such a special song from a brilliant artist.”
Omar Kamal from Palestine noted: “Emel’s performance of Kelmti Horra brought tears to my eyes, and as soon as I sat at the piano to sing the song, my soul opened up to its true power and purity.”
Faia Younan from Syria remarked: “I’m excited to be part of this project, this song is extremely powerful, the lyrics are simple yet so real and so heartfelt. We need to keep singing about justice and a more just world, everything in life starts with a vision and music is one of the purest ways to create those visions.”
Meanwhile, Hend Sabry from Tunisia added: “This song, for me and for millions of Tunisians, was the voice of a social uproar that took us all by storm.”