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  • Writer's picturerobbiegringras

The Sounds of "The Gate"

So it turns out that "The Gate" needs to include the sounds of the Muezin in the morning.

I even make reference to the words of the morning Adhan, and I wanted to get things right. Can't risk being even less authentic than I naturally am. So I didn't want to take a recording of a Muezin from anywhere other than here. Perhaps there are tell-tale sounds that betray the Muezin's location?

Last week I got up at five in the morning and made my way over to the junction with Dir El Assad, armed with all my recording equipment. When the Muezin started up, I was a little disappointed. The voice was low, not particularly musically impressive, and very very loud. The text of the show had it as "beautiful, soaring", and the song of this guy was neither. Also, despite this being an unholy hour of 5.15 am, there were cars occasionally driving by, spoiling my recording. I resolved to try recording from elsewhere the following morning.

I'll admit, I got a little obsessive about it. Going out every morning before waking up, in order to record the call to wake up. And I'm not a morning kind of guy...

Anyway last night/morning I got the ultimate take. The cliff-view of the kibbutz is perfectly placed to pick up both the Dir El Assad mosque, and the Majd Al Krum mosque - and distant from any cars. Sitting there, under a clear star-filled sky, I could see the entire valley before me. Dir El Assad Muezin started up first, still loud and clear. But then after a few minutes Majd Al Krum piped up, a higher note with more trills. Soon like watching lights lit from hill to hill, all the Muezins from all the valley were singing, echoing off each other. Tens of different voices calling their faithful to prayer. It was beautiful.

I was struck by how it felt like the entire valley beneath me was full of Allah.

I know that to be an Arab-Palestinian Israeli is a challenging experience: To become a minority in one's own land. We Jews grew up as minorities, leaving Chanuka behind at home to meet Christmas outside, hearing tolling or celebratory bells and knowing they were not ours. Arriving in Israel, where Jewish culture is in the public domain, the majority culture - for many of us it feels almost like a miracle. And I'm painfully aware that this wonderful feeling of belonging, that I feel as a Jew, is precisely that which makes the local Palestinian Arab Israeli feel alienated. Not all is as it should be in the Holy Land.

But it still felt good to hear how Islam rules the pre-dawn land in song and in prayer.

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