1994 – 1995
Music Channel was a project uniting Israeli, Palestinian and Norwegian musicians in one group. In 1994, the secret “Oslo Channel”, that laid the foundations for a peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. sparked the idea of establishing a musical collaboration between the same three nationalities that had been involved in the political negotiations in Oslo, Norway. History has proved that the agreement did not bring peace, but the musical project remains an example of how musicians from different sides of a conflict can be able to create music together that can bridge big political and emotional divides.
Setesdal, Norway, November/December 1994
Eight musicians, two Palestinians, two Israelis and four Norwegians assembled in Bykle, Norway, together with project leader and producer Sigbjørn Nedland, and a team from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. For two weeks, they created, performed and recorded music based on the varied musical and cultural backgrounds of the participating musicians. The nine tracks on the Music Channel CD are the results of this historical collaboration.
Nobel Peace Prize Performance
The very autumn that the Music Channel album was recorded, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three leaders from the Middle East: Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin. The organisers asked Music Channel to perform at the ceremony, as a musical example of collaboration between Palestinians and Israelis. It was decided that the Norwegian participants in the project should not join the Palestinian and Israeli musicians at the award ceremony (we felt that Norway got more exposure than what was needed during the event), so Saed Sweiti, Yair Dalal, Jowad Al Tammimi and Eyal Selah performed as a quartet when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the three laureates. They played two pieces of music, one Israeli and one Palestinian during the award ceremony.
After the release of the Music Channel CD in 1995, the group went on a concert tour in Norway, playing various places, including Oslo and Trondheim. A tour in Israel and on the West Bank had to be cancelled because Israeli authorities would not allow it, allegedly because they could not guarantee the safety of the musicians…