In my artistic work as a singer and composer, I like to set lyrics to music such as those of the world-famous poet Khalil Gibran, to whom I dedicated my CD Khalil & May.
My grandfather Antoine Safar (*1929 †2021) wrote the poem Lebanon 1977 during the civil war in Lebanon. It is a poem that contains much horror, sadness and pride. Although the text Lebanon 1977 was written more than forty years ago, it is still very topical in the time of the great refugee movement. For the picture-sound collage The Song of the Valley (directed by Matthias Leupold, Marie Séférian, 50 min, 2020) I have selected and set to music several poems by my grandfather. To translate these texts into music has brought me much closer to the refugees in Lebanon.
Matthias Leupold took black and white photographs of the Lebanon mountains, which is the eponym of the country “White Mountains”. These landscape images are broken up by the interior shots of a once very fashionable villa in Beirut, which has been empty since the civil war. The viewer is left with his or her own fantasy to imagine the splendor of the former “Switzerland of the Middle East”.
In meinem künstlerischen Schaffen als Sängerin und Komponistin vertone ich gerne Lyrik. Meine CD Khalil & May widmete ich dem weltbekannten Dichter Khalil Gibran.
Das Gedicht Liban 1977 schrieb mein Großvater Antoine Safar (*1929) während des Bürgerkrieges im Libanon. Es ist ein Gedicht voller Schrecken, Trauer aber auch Stolz. Obwohl der Text Liban 1977 vor mehr als vierzig Jahren entstand, ist er in der Zeit der großen Flüchtlingsbewegung immer noch sehr aktuell. Für die Bild-Ton-Kollage The Song of the Valley (Regie Matthias Leupold, Marie Séférian, 50 min, 2020) habe ich weitere Gedichte meines Großvaters ausgewählt und vertont. Diese Texte musikalisch umzusetzen, hat mich den Flüchtlingen im Libanon sehr viel näher gebracht.
Matthias Leupold fertigte schwarz-weiße Aufnahmen des Libanongebirges an, welches der Namensgeber des Landes ist („Weiße Berge“). Diese Landschaften werden von Bildern einer seit dem Bürgerkrieg leerstehenden einstmals sehr mondänen Villa in Beirut unterbrochen. Dem Betrachter bleibt die eigene Fantasie, um die Pracht der ehemaligen „Schweiz des Nahen Ostens“ zu erahnen.
by Antoine Safar
This mountain, wrapped in a golden cloak / Suddenly became murderous
His lively and easy songs / Became the echo of death
The neighbor was killing his neighbor! / The brother murdered his brother!
We raped the sisters, the mothers / We were quartering all the children
Horror, but what have you done to me? / To my quiet days
To all my sons and daughters? / What did we do? God help me
What did we do?
Engraved in the name of life
What did we do? God help me / What did we do?
For days and years / I take my harness
Let my wounds heel
My name will be Lebanon
Director Biography – Marie Séférian, Matthias Leupold
Marie Séférian is the daughter of a chamber musician and a french chanson singer. With three years she began to play the violin. After ten years of violin lessons she decided to take piano and singing lessons. She studied Jazz Voice at the UDK, Berlin and in Luzern, Switzerland.
Marie released several albums with her own compositions and toured in: Libanon, Chile, Netherlands, India, Switzerland, Ireland and Germany.
Her Life motto is: No matter where you are, music is everywhere. You wear it always with you around.
Matthias Leupold was born in East Berlin in 1959. Since the 1980s he has been creating a parallel world through his staged photography. Scenes from this world have been exhibited in over 50 exhibitions in Europe, Asia and the USA, and are published in several books, as well as archived in international collections. Leupold is a professor of Photography at an art and design university in Berlin. His documentary: LIGHTER THAN ORANGE–THE LEGACY OF DIOXIN IN VIETNAM, 2015, 72 min, was selected from several festivals in Europe, USA and Asia and awarded with GRAND PRIZE Documentary Feature Award of Socially Relevant Film Festival New York and Best Feature Documentary Los Angeles CineFest, 42 broadcasts Deutsche Welle DE, EN, ES, AR, more: www.lighterthanorange.com
THE NOISE OF LETEA, 29 min, Documentary, 2017 www.letea-film.com, Hugo Jaeggi,Photographer-The Dream is often Real Enough, 46 min, 2019