Rana: Arab-Jewish Women's Choir
Rana: Arab-Jewish Women's Choir
The Arab - Jewish women’s choir, Rana, is a Jaffa-based choir made up of twenty Muslim, Jewish and Christian women. The choir was created in 2016 by Mika Danny, formerly the founder and conductor of the Shirana choir, and Idan Toledano, formerly Shirana’s Artistic Director. The choir members are veterans of the Shirana choir that was based at the Jaffa Arab-Jewish Community Center from 2008 to 2015 and toured successfully in Israel and abroad.
The choir seeks to provide a space for women’s voices, which regrettably are not heard enough in this region of the world. The choir operates from the belief in the power of shared creation and song to foster intercultural dialogue and to form deep human relationships. In singing together, the women express their sentiments and sensibilities of shared lives and destinies, their hope for life and peace, and the range of feelings common to all humankind. The choir presents and represents coexistence at its best; it is a model of emulation on numerous levels – gendered, social and musical. Its repertoire includes songs in Arabic, Hebrew, and folklore from around the world.
The Rana Choir is a living proof that collaboration between Arabs and Jews is possible and the outcome is inevitable. No doubt that it has a great effect on the audience, as well, who is moved by the voices, the authenticity and the message. The reactions are the same – if Jews and Arabs can make such beautiful music together- Peace is really possible. In this aspect, it strengthens the role of song in shaping issues in a multicultural society.
The positive responses to, and demand for their performances have demonstrated that its work is striking a chord with diverse audiences. The choir seeks to build on this momentum by reaching more constituencies throughout the country, including disadvantaged and peripheral communities.
The choir also plays an integral role in the lives of its members, who range in age from mid-30's to mid-60 and come from different socio-economic backgrounds. It empowers them with meaningful skills, experiences and relationships while strengthening their commitment to a shared society.
Singing in a group is a therapeutic act and it is known that it has social and psycho-social benefits. People who sing in a choir have a stronger sense of being part of a meaningful group and it is known that there is something unique about the synchronicity of moving and breathing with other people.
The choir's main activities are: weekly rehearsals that include vocal work, hearing development and work on repertoire, concerts and encounters that include a performance and a discussion with the audience. The choir also participates in special workshops with other musicians in order to enlarge their knowledge of different vocal techniques and musical styles.
The choir operates under the umbrella of Inspiration Global School for Art, Leadership and Social Change, as part of the Topaz Center for Innovative Social Entrepreneurship, a social entrepreneurship hub that formulates and nurtures innovative and creative social ventures in a supportive environment, with the aim of contributing to the growth and sustainability of Israeli society. The choir takes part in its artistic and social activities on an ongoing basis.