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Simona Abdallah, a German-born, Danish-raised musician of Palestinian origin, was recently invited to Beirut by Elias Rahbani – sibling of legendary composing duo the Rahbani brothers – to revamp iconic classics of Fairouz using the Western-influenced beats of her Arabic drum.Abdallah's first memories in Lebanon are as a 5-year-old in Tripoli's Beddawi Palestinian refugee camp, where she lived for a year before her family traveled to Denmark. Growing up between two cultures, she said, led to her distinctive musical style.Raised in a conservative "ghetto" of second-generation refugees in Denmark, Abdallah experienced a clash of cultures early on. Soon after her return to Denmark, her family forbade her to play the derbake, saying the instrument was not fit for a woman. While she felt rejected by her own community, she also felt partly ousted by Danish society. Abdallah said that in Lebanon, she found the "home" she'd been working to create.
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