This is the web site of "The Skies are Weeping", a new cantata by Philip Munger, in memory of Rachel Corrie. Its world premiere will be at the Hackney Empire, London, 1st. November 2005. This site is updated as information about the production becomes available.

Wednesday, November 16

Great memento of Skies are Weeping - only £2.50

The programme for the event is now on sale. As well as full details of the performers and pieces, there are thoughtful short essays by those who are working for peace, including Joe Carr, ISM volunteer and an eye-witness to the deaths of Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall and Jeff Halper, Coordinator, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Ruth Tenne, an Israeli, writes on

Eyad El Sarraj - Director, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme reflects

and more. PLUS full text of the five wonderful and touching poems that Gregory Youtz set to music in The Singer of Wind and Rain. Here's one example:

All for £2.50, post and packing is included. Please send cheques, payable to 'The Skies are Weeping' or Postal Orders, to our Treasurer at PO Box 34265, London NW5 2WD.

Thursday, November 3

Skies are Weeping event triumphs

A few shots to remember a great event. But we still need £1,500. Please help us to complete the project. All contributions welcomed. Please send cheques, payable to 'The Skies are Weeping' or Postal Orders, to our Treasurer at PO Box 34265, London NW5 2WD. All contributions most gratefully received.

Cindy Corrie introducing the event.

Peter Crockford
conducting the Coro Cervantes in The Singer of Wind and Rain, five songs on Palestinian poems, by Gregory Youtz.

Some of the Al-Hurriyya Dance Group caught as the group line-danced the traditional Palestinian Dabka.

Tsivi Sharrett adding the piano to the TS Ensemble playing
Near Eastern songs and music
fused with Jazz.

Deborah Fink, soprano soloist, backed by the
London Percussion Ensemble,
singing the cantata
The Skies are Weeping,
by Philip Munger.

The audience in the Hackney Empire on November 1 was moved, delighted and drawn in to the music and dance as The Skies are Weeping event unfolded. From the opening whispered lament of The Singer of Wind and Rain, through the excitingly different jazz fusion with Near Eastern music of Tsivi Sharrett and the TS Ensemble and the joyous exuberance of the Al-Hurriyya Dance Group to the atmospheric The Skies are Weeping cantata, we joined emotionally with singers and dancers from different cultures and backgrounds, in harmony and peace.

The Skies are Weeping Project thanks all who took part, the patrons and supporters, the Hackney Empire and, not least, the wonderful audience. Please help that little bit more, with a contribution to the project costs.

Please send cheques, payable to 'The Skies are Weeping' or Postal Orders, to our Treasurer at PO Box 34265, London NW5 2WD. All contributions most gratefully received.

Saturday, October 15

Our patrons say...

Some quotes from our patrons about why they support Skies are Weeping.

Professor Noam Chomsky

“Rachel Corrie was a young woman of rare courage and integrity, who risked her life to protect victims of savage destruction and brutality. Her heroic actions have all the more meaning for Americans because of our direct participation, unwitting or not, in the crimes she gave her life to prevent. She should be remembered, and honored, by all decent people, and should be a constant inspiration to them to do what they can to defend the principles that she upheld.”

Dr. Ilan Pappe

“One hopes that music, as much as words and pictures, would alert the world to the daily crimes against humanity that are taking place in Palestine. Rachel Corrie witnessed these crimes, reported them and died while trying to stop them. The cantata is not only in her memory, but also a reminder of her legacy: to continue the international struggle against the occupation until peace arrives in the torn land of Palestine and Israel. Yours, Ilan Pappe”

Professor Avi Shlaim

“The World Premiere of the cantata for Rachel Corrie is an event of great symbolic significance and a fitting tribute to a young woman of exceptional courage and dedication. One of the most monstrous aspects of Israeli policy in the occupied territories is the demolition of the homes of Palestinian families. Rachel took sides in this hopelessly unequal conflict between the occupiers and the occupied, between the oppressors and the oppressed. She was on the side of the underdog. Indeed, she sacrificed her life in defence of Palestinian rights against brutal Israeli aggression. In doing so, she set an example for the rest of us and she helped to keep alive the hope that justice for the Palestinians will prevail in the end. Best wishes, Avi.” Professor of International Relations, St Antony's College, Oxford

Miriam Margolyes

“I support the event because I think what happened to Rachel was wrong — and I - who am a proud Jew - am not proud when we do wrong.”

Clare Short

"I am supporting the World Premiere of the cantata for Rachel Corrie because there has been the usual campaign to silence even a cantata to commemorate a young woman who gave her life in order to stand for justice. I also believe that US backing for Israeli policies of expansion of the Israeli state and oppression of the Palestinian people is the major cause of bitter division and violence in the world. Best wishes. Clare Short MP"

John Pilger

"The Skies are Weeping concert is important because it is about an individual's right to life and the right of all of us to freedom, nothing more, nothing less, and we should support it."

Congratulations to Harold Pinter for Nobel Prize

We are delighted that our patron, Harold Pinter, has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His work is not only of the highest literary merit, but incisively tackles major political issues. Art — literary, dramatic, musical, visual — can make make a difference. Harold Pinter's work brings disturbing insight into human behaviour in the political environment. But without such insight, little will change and improve. We hope that Skies are Weeping, in its own way, can also help to make a difference for the better.

Tuesday, September 20

Great news - great support!

As well as the Arts Council and the Holst Foundation, we are delighted that we have also kindly been offered grants or donations by the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice and Jennifer Loewenstein's Madison-Rafah Sister City Project and Musicians Against Nuclear Arms. Jews for Justice for Palestinians is sponsoring Al Hurriya, the Palestinian Dabka dance group, who will be performing. Many thanks. And special thanks to Cindy Corrie who will be introducing the concert.
Please buy tickets, come and see and hear wonderful words and music, make a donation or help us spread the word.

Friday, September 16

Thank you Arts Council and the Holst Foundation

We are very grateful to the Arts Council and the Holst Foundation for giving us grants to help us put on the concert. But we still do need more money. Please help by donating or buying tickets. Any surplus funds from donations and tickets will be given to the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions and the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme.
Please send cheques, payable to 'The Skies are Weeping' or Postal Orders, to our Treasurer at PO Box 34265, London NW5 2WD. All contributions most gratefully received. Tickets from the Hackney Empire, London.

Tuesday, August 16

Programme update

We are delighted that the concert will also include:

The UK premiere of The Singer of Wind and Rain, five Palestinian lyrics for mixed choir, set by Gregory Youtz, 2000. Gregory Youtz was born in 1956 in Beirut, Lebanon and received his musical education in the USA, where he now lives, composing and teaching.

Palestinian music and dance, performed by Al-Hurriyya
Palestinian Dabka Dance Group. Its members come from Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon and the UK. Although very new, it has had growing success in the UK, including the WOMAD Festival in Reading, and various street festivals in London. Its aim is to introduce Palestinian traditional dance to wider audiences in the UK.

The Tsivi Sharrett Ensemble. Led by the multi-talented Israeli Tsivi Sharrett, it finds inspiration in Yemenite, Israeli and Palestinian songs fused with jazz. The Ensemble has performed in a variety of venues in the UK, including the Jazz Café and at the South Bank Festival.

Monday, August 8

Five Songs on Palestinian Poems

Gregory Youtz has provided the following programme notes for his work The Singer of Wind and Rain: Five Songs on Palestinian Poems. Like the Jews, Palestinians have produced a remarkable number of gifted intellectuals, artists and writers over the centuries. Like the Jews, Palestinians have suffered under many foreign rulers and been described in the most negative stereotypical ways by a world that does not know them. Somehow, both cultures have managed to keep alive their identity, their culture and their ability to imagine beauty amid the pain of war and pogrom.
These poems represent a tiny slice of the powerful poetry created by modern Palestinian poets in the last fifty tumultuous years. These are voices rarely heard in the West, voices that must be heard if the terrible struggle in "The Holy Land" is ever to cease. These poems may serve to remind us of just how strongly a people can hold on to their identities and their hopes and their dreams.
The poems are drawn from the "Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature" edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi, published by Columbia University Press. All translations are used by permission of the editor.