A Swiss humanitarian worker, an accountant, two attorneys, an agronomic, and a Swiss accountant have created Gaza’s first rock band, giving voice to the agony of the Palestinian conflict in English.
The unusual band formed Osprey V more than two years ago, releasing video snippets online and maintaining a sense of mystery by concealing their identities.
With songs rooted in the emotions of the Palestinian people, the band is now ready to take the stage.
They performed live for Gaza, an internet concert to raise money for artists in the Palestinian Territories, in April, a month before an 11-day conflict between Palestine and Israel. Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, a pro-Palestinian campaigner, also attended.
Moamin El-Jaru, the band’s composer, said Osprey V wishes to send a global message as well as one specific to Gaza.
“I try to address situations or problems that face everybody in the world, but because I came from a place that has been cursed with so many wars and conflicts, I try to say that from my perspective, from my place from Gaza,” said El-Jaru, a lawyer by profession.
“We’ll scream our pain – can you hear the call?” implores one of the band’s songs, “Home.”
The band’s creation was driven by lead vocalist Raji El-Jaru, an accountant, and Moamin El-cousin, Jaru’s who described it as the realization of a boyhood ambition.
At a rehearsal, he told Reuters that Osprey sang in English “so everyone will understand and everyone will be touched by the message”, which he described as a “scream of anger against the injustice”.
The song’s title “Home,” according to Moamin El-Jaru, has a profound significance for Palestinians uprooted by Israel’s conflict.
“When I sing about home, I am singing [about] home for Palestinians and everybody in a difficult situation that doesn’t get to feel at home,” he said.
Drummer Thomas Kocherhans, speaking from Switzerland, said he joined the band three years ago while working as a humanitarian relief worker in Gaza.
“When I heard them for the first time, I was really shocked, but in the very good sense. I just never thought such quality music would exist in Gaza,” said Kocherhans, who had to leave Gaza earlier this year after his mission ended.
Despite a lack of interest in Western music in Gaza, the band, named after a bird of prey, has great expectations for success.
“I would love to become the Palestinian Metallica or Pink Floyd, Roger Waters,” Raji El-Jaru said.