Gaza’s premier rock band Osprey V takes flight


An accountant, two lawyers, an agronomist and a Swiss humanitarian formed Gaza’s first rock band, giving an English voice to the pain of war in the Palestinian territory.

The unlikely group came together over two years ago to create Osprey V, posting music videos online and projecting an aura of mystery by keeping their faces hidden.

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Palestinian accountant Raji El-Jaru sings and plays guitar during rehearsal of leading rock band Osprey V in Gaza City

Palestinian accountant, Raji El-Jaru, sings and plays guitar during a rehearsal for his music group Osprey V in Gaza City

(Photo: Reuters)

Now the group is ready to step into the limelight, with songs imbued with the emotions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In April, a month before an 11-day war between militants in Gaza and Israel, they performed in “Live for Gaza”, an online concert to raise funds for musicians in the Palestinian Territories.

Group songwriter Moamin El-Jaru said Osprey V wanted to deliver both a universal and unique message to Gaza, led by militant Islamist group Hamas since 2007.

“I try to address situations or problems that everyone is facing in the world, but because I come from a place that has been cursed by so many wars and conflicts, I try to say that of my point of view, from my place in Gaza, “said El-Jaru, a lawyer by profession.

“We will cry out our pain – can you hear the call? Pleads one of the band’s songs, “Home”.

Lead singer Raji El-Jaru, accountant and cousin of Moamin El-Jaru, was the driving force behind the group’s formation, calling it the fulfillment of a childhood dream.

During a rehearsal, he told Reuters that Osprey sang in English “so that everyone understands and everyone is touched by the message,” which he described as a “cry of anger at the injustice”.

And for Moamin El-Jaru, the title of the song “Home” has a poignant meaning for Palestinians displaced by the war with Israel.

“When I sing about the house, I sing (about) the house for the Palestinians and everyone in a difficult situation who does not feel (at) home,” he said.

Speaking from Switzerland, drummer Thomas Kocherhans said he joined the group three years ago while doing humanitarian work in Gaza.

“When I first heard them I was really shocked, but in a very good way. I never thought that music of such quality would exist in Gaza,” said Kocherhans, who had to leave Gaza earlier this year after the end of his mission. .

Despite a lack of interest in Western music in the conservative Gaza Strip, the group, named after a bird of prey, has high hopes for success.

“I would love to become the Palestinian Metallica or Pink Floyd,” said Raji El-Jaru.

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