Farah Chamma

Farah Chamma

Farah Chamma is a Dubai-born Palestinian spoken word poet. She started performing at the age of 15. She enjoys multilingual performances. She performs in 6 different languages, but mostly writes in English, French and Arabic. In 2015, Farah and a group of friends started a spoken word and music band in Abu Dhabi that they named Parea (شلّة الفرح in Arabic). 

فرح شما شاعرة الكلمة المنطوقة. فلسطينية ولدت في دبي. بدأت مسيرتها الشعرية في سن الخامسة عشر. تكتب وتتحدث بست لغات. ا
.ألقت معظم قصائدها باللغة العربية والإنجليزية والفرنسية
في عام 2015 مزجت فرح الشعر بالموسيقى فشكّلت فرقة موسيقية أطلقت عليها شلّة الفرح.ا


Find out more about me through:

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Parea
Parea is a spoken-word and music band that formed in 2015 in Abu Dhabi. Maruan Betawi (oud and guitar), Eleftheria Togia (viola), Farah Chamma (spoken word poetry), and Molham Makki (electronic music) met for the first time in a jam session and felt that they immediately clicked. What characterizes their work is improvisation. When Farah performs her pieces in English, Arabic, French, or Spanish, the musicians start playing to accompany her without always knowing what the texts are about, in hopes that at the end, they would all synchronize. During 2016, two more members joined the band: Danai Marinou (keyboard) and Myriam Nehmeh (cajón).


Edition I

Dead Cats and Plastic Bags - by Farah Chamma

Dead Cats and Plastic Bags

By Farah Chamma

Remember when we picked up that dead cat with a plastic bag?
You stopped your car, and I got out to carry her away from the road.
“Ana kteer bkhaf.”
“I get really scared.”
This is what it all comes to.
Love in the form of dead cats and plastic bags.
Fear and nausea could be key constituents of love.
I wouldn’t have done it with as much spontaneity
If you hadn’t stopped your car so quickly, so naturally
As if picking up dead cats with plastic bags was something you did
From time to time.
I love you.


Edition IV

Ether - by Farah Chamma  (photo by Myriam Nehmeh)Photo credit: Myriam Nehmeh

Ether

By Farah Chamma

I imagine you there,
behind your cold desk.
Your glasses, your hair,
your dry lips, your stare.
All floating in space. 

You breathe a day in.
You breathe a day out.
She is under your skin.
Your certainty and doubt,
all floating in space.

I like to look at you—
see the world
filled with your color.

I like to smell your
sorrow—
see your smile 
hide behind thin air. 

You are like ether.

I like to look at you—
just like the times I
look at the heavens.

I like to smell your 
sorrow—
just like the times 
I smell the wind.

(Enjoy the soothing performance of this poem by Dima Lababidi by clicking here)


Edition VI

الشيشة - by Farah Chamma

الشيشة

الشاعرة فرح شمّا

في المقهى
نرى الشباب في أحسن حال
.لا يفعلون إلّا ما يريح البال

.لا يهمهم لا قمعٌ و لا حربٌ و لا احتلال
ينتظرونَ عروساً
نحيلةً، طويلةَ الهامةِ، رأسُها مرفوعٌ
.فاخرٌ، تفّاحتان و عنبٌ و برتقال

في المقهى
نرى الشباب في أحسن حال
.لا يفعلون إلّا ما يريح البال

أحاديثهم برابيشٌ تمتد من أفواههم
.لا موضوعٌ يطرحُ و لا سؤال
تقرقر الشِيَشُ بدلاً عنهم
.و تضيء وجوههم شاشات الجوّال

،تشتعل رؤوس الشيشة ناراً
.أمّا رؤوسهم فكالجليدِ مضاضةً للاشتعال
فقد يكونوا قد سئموا الحديث عن البطالة و ارتفاع الأسعار و المال
،و سئموا السياية و الثورات، و فقدوا فيها كلّ اللآمال
.فمن الطبيعي أن يفضلوا الحديث عن البرشا و الريال

في المقهى
نرى الشباب في أحسن حال
.لا يفعلون إلّا ما يريح البال

لِمَ يقرؤون الكتبَ
إن كان هناك مجال
للجلوس لساعاتٍ
في مقهى االموّال

نراهم على هواهم
وسط الدخّانِ جالسين
كالغمامِ يعمي أبصارهم
.فهم لأحلامهم و طموحاتهم لغافلين

،كالشيشة هم
يخنق الدخّان مائهم
فمن يأتيهم بماءٍ معين؟
وكّلوا أمرهم على الله، فهو المستعان المعين
.و قاموا الليل على أوراق الشدّةِ ساجدين

،فيا شباب اليوم
فالنشيش معاً
.ما دمنا جالسين
،فالنشيش للوطن
.و فالنشيش للمظلومين
،و فالنشيش للطغاتِ
.و فالنشيش للمستعمرين
.و فالنشيش للعلمِ و الثقافةِ و الدين

،و فالنشيش
و نبقى في المقهى جالسين
لعلّنا في يومٍ نشيشُ
.في فلسطين

(إذا أردت مشاهدة إلقاء الشاعرة فرح شمّا لهذه القصيدة اضغة هنا)


Edition VII

I am No Palestinian - by Farah Chamma

I Am No Palestinian

By Farah Chamma

I am no Palestinian

I am no courageous, fearless, valorous, gallant,
proud, adventurous, selfless patriot.

I am a soul in exile
expressing my thoughts
in all languages but mine;

“Hi, I am Palestinian”
“Salut, je suis Palestinien”
“Oi, eu sou Palestina”

I cut my mother tongue in half
نصبت المبتدء و لعنت أبو الخبر
كسرتُ الضمّة الّتي ضمّة ما بيننا

Palestinian poet Rafeef Ziadeh was right when she said:
“Allow me to speak my Arab tongue before they occupy my language as well”

Well,

to that I must add;
allow me to be the “Arab” that I am
allow me my right to learn, to travel, to pray
allow me to walk through any foreign street without having to feel this shame
without having to think twice about my clothes, my face, my name, or the visa.

The god damn visa
I had to work day and night for to claim,
because at the end of the day
I am not the one to blame.
I am not the one to blame for “Bin Laden” or “9/11”
or all your other schemes and games.

I am just a soul in exile
I am in no hall of fame
I have to ought to be someone I am not
just to fit in your frame.

Despite the agony I went through
despite the struggles I overcame
despite the diplomas, the degrees, the awards I acclaim
I am still no Palestinian.

I am still no Palestinian,
no matter how many “I love Palestine” stickers I stick on my car
no matter how many times I cry over Gaza
and argue over the Israeli settlements
no matter how many times I curse the Zionists, blame the media and swear at all the Arab leaders
I am no Palestinian.

Even if I memorize the names of all the Palestinian cities
even if I recite Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry
and draw Handala on my walls
and even as I stand here today
in front of you all
I am no Palestinian

أنا مش فلسطينية

and I might never ever be
and that is exactly what makes the Palestinian in me.

(Click here to watch Farah’s amazing performance of this poem – Video by Ihab Mokayed)


Edition XII

caixas-boxes-by-farah-chamma-photo-by-rima-al-sammaraePhoto credit: Rima Al Sammarae

Caixas (Boxes)

By Farah Chamma

Não venho daqui
I don’t come from here

Não venho de là
I don’t come from there

Não preciso “vir”
I don’t have to “come”

Só preciso ser, estar
I just have to be

Eu falo Árabe,
I speak Arabic

Mas prefiro o idioma do mar
But prefer the language of the sea

E as vezes no silencio
And sometimes in silence

Nem preciso falar
I need not even speak

Eu sou ninguém,
I am no one,

Sou um pensamento passageiro,
I am a fleeting thought,

Sou a forma do ar
I am the form of air

O mundo tenta me definir,
The world defines me

Me colocar nessas caixas
Puts me in these boxes

Ele quer me encaixar:
It wants to box me in

“Muçulmana, ela tem grana, ela vem do Oriente Médio.. E a Burca, ela deve usar.”
“Muslim, rich, Middle Eastern. She must wear the burqa”

“Ela é mulher, árabe, oprimida, ela veio pro Brasil para se liberar.”
“She’s a woman. Arab. Oppressed. She came to Brazil to be liberated.”

Eu sou ninguém, eu sou você
I am no one, I am you

Você é eu
You are me

Mas eles me ensinaram julgar
But they taught me to judge

“Brasileiro, farofeiro, só joga futebol, dança samba, mora nas favelas, fuma maconha, é perigoso, é corrupto”
“Brazilian. Rugged. Only plays football. Dances Samba. Lives in favelas. Smokes weed. Dangerous. Corrupt.”

“Não vá para esse lugar!”
“Don’t go there!”

Mas hoje estou aqui,
But today I am here

com vocês
With you

Eu me descobri, de novo
I discovered myself, once again

Nesse olhar, e nesse olhar
In your eyes, and yours

Eu tento entender
I try to understand

No lugar de criticar
Instead of criticizing

Tento entender tudo
I try to understand everything

Até os cabelos do Neymar!
Even Neymar’s hair!

Eu sou ninguém,
I am no one,

Apenas um ser humano,
Barely a human being

Nesse mundo tão grande,
In this vast world

Tão pequeno
Small world

Tento me achar.
I try to find myself

Não procuro no Globo News,
I don’t look in Globo News,

Procuro acima, procuro no céu,
I look beyond, in the sky

Nas árvores, nos mendigos, nas ruas
In the trees, in the beggars, in the streets

nos livros, na poesia,
In books, in poetry

Para no final, me achar em vocês.
To find myself, at the end, in you.


Video Archive

“Faraح” – by Farah Chamma


I am No Palestinian – by Farah Chamma


The Sheesha – by Farah Chamma ¦ فرح شما – الشيشة


Caixas [Boxes] – by Farah Chamma


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