In an overwhelming display of unity, 53 stars from the region have remotely banded together to perform one of the Arab world’s most powerful anthems: Kelmti Horra. Since music has the unique power of instilling hope even in the most trying of times, this video is one of the many virtual concerts and celebrity group covers that have graced our social feeds throughout this pandemic, with the goal to uplift our spirits even for just a few minutes firmly in place.
Originally released almost a decade ago by Tunisian songstress Emel Mathlouthi, “My Word is Free” was performed on the Nobel Peace Price ceremony stage in 2015. Once again demonstrating its prowess in connecting human hearts even across international borders, a lockdown version of the song featuring a star-studded ensemble of Arab musicians, artists, singers, and actors was posted yesterday, July 13 on Mathlouthi’s YouTube page. Less than a day since its release, the reimagined music video has garnered more than 58,000 views and is still growing.
Joined by some of the Arab world’s most famous personalities, including award-winning actors Dorra Zarrouk and Hend Sabri as well as renowned Tunisian calligraphist eL Seed, Mathlouthi strung together clips of these talented vocalists from 22 different nationalities into an eight-minute recording that has led to “the most beautiful thing [she’s] ever been involved in”.
“Since the day I wrote the music of Kelmti Horra in my small studio in Tunis back in 2007, it’s been my dream to sing it together with artists and human beings from all over the world, like a unifying powerful protest chant,” shared Mathlouthi on Instagram. “When the pandemic started, I was confined in Tunis. I started thinking that it was time to deliver the strongest message: of unity, human connection, and empathy, needed more than ever. I started contacting artists from all over the world, people that are making a change around them and beyond, people that I have been inspired by, that I respect and appreciate…Some songs are just bigger than us and can travel beyond time, cultural differences, and geography.”
Bringing together this diverse group of hopeful changemakers, Mathlouthi is “proud” of this stirring rendition created as a tribute to inspire not only the region but also the rest of the world to continue relentlessly paving new paths toward progress, regardless of the obstacles blocking the way.