Amwaj (Arabic name for « waves ») is an educational program for children and youth established in 2015, in Bethlehem and Hebron, as an independent educational program leaning on cultural centers of the two Palestinian towns.
Led by a mixed team of French and Palestinian educators, Amwaj allows children and youth to access high-quality music tuition through an intensive pedagogical program based on collective singing. Today, Amwaj counts 60 girls and boys, whose ages range from 8 to 18, from the Bethlehem region (towns, refugee camps, rural areas) and Hebron (old city and new city). In October 2019, the Amwaj pedagogical team has also begun working twice a week with a group of 30 children and youth of the SOS Children’s Village – Bethlehem.
Thanks to Amwaj’s inclusive social vision (gender equality, non-affiliation to any specific social, religious, or political context) as well as to its focus on cultural exchanges and intercultural dialogue, the choir members have access to a vast music repertoire and extensive artistic partnerships. Central to the development and success of the young singers of Amwaj is a constant exchange and dialogue with other artists and pedagogues, from within Palestine and abroad.
The choir performs a wide range of repertoire, from Medieval music to Contemporary premieres, world music, and Arabic traditional songs. It has commissioned and premiered in France and Palestine, compositions by Naji Hakim, Patrick Lama, Dina Shilleh, and Moneim Adwan.
Amwaj is a member of the MEDINEA network:
Amongst the pedagogical principles adopted within the choir school project:
1. The teaching is based on collective experience, with individual vocal attention provided to ensure that each student is well integrated and contributes at their best towards the group.
2. The choir school is a place of cultural exchange and language discovery. The duality of Western singing / Arabic singing ranges throughout a variety of musical styles. Alongside Palestinian songs, the children sing traditional songs from numerous countries, in the original languages.
March 2020, concert in Lyon (France):
3. Starting from monophonic singing, polyphony was gradually introduced to the young singers. Today, the choir perform as one group or be divided into various smaller ensembles: monodic or equal-voices children’s choir; polyphonic 3-4 voices youth choir; girls’ choir; boys’ choir.
October 2019, residence of Adélaïde Stroesser and Marie-Pierre Labro:
4. The teaching of music theory is introduced gradually, from the choral repertoire, without any pre-established model but inspired by several methods.
5. To complete the curriculum, the Amwaj program includes workshops in many other activities: theatre, yoga, body awareness, poetry, dance, writing, introduction to piano and percussions, and more.