Emerging from the vibrant Palestinian electronic music scene, ZENOBIA زنّوبيا have made a big impression over a short period of time: the band started performing a couple of years ago, and has already toured around the globe.
ZENOBIA’s music combines powerful beats, Levantine dabke rhythms and Arabic pop melodies. The band draw their inspiration from pop & folk music from all over the region (Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria). They refine their songs by taking them back and forth between their studio and the stage, where they improvise a lot, and feed off the audience reactions.
The band consists of Nasser Halahlih and Isam Elias. Nasser was a pioneer in the local scene, he was arguably the first Palestinian electronic music producer, back in the late 90s. Young, fleet-fingered keyboardist Isam’s background is in European classical music, he grew up in Nazareth, while Nasser hails from (and still lives) in Shefa Amr, a small town situated between Haifa and Nazareth.
The band’s headquarters are in Haifa, the third-largest city in Israel, which has a relatively large Arab population. Nasser and Isam are thus part of the population variably designated as Palestinian citizens of Israel, Israeli Palestinians, Palestinians of ’48 or simply Palestinian Arabs... this alone exemplifies its peculiar status. In Haifa, the Arab music scene -and the arts scene in general- has been flourishing during the last few years. Artists such as Zenobia have been connecting more and more with other nexuses of the new Palestinian electronic music movement which is developing -regardless of political borders- between Haifa & Ramallah, and extending to Beirut, Amman and the diaspora. Zenobia are among the few bands from their home environment who perform abroad, and this has been very meaningful for their community, who is giving them a lot of support.