Rim Banna Tribute

A tribute concert to one of the most groundbreaking Palestinian artists of the 20th century, ‘The Trace of the Butterfly” is an international showcase and homage to the Palestinian icon’s music legacy.


Banna, a celebrated activist, dedicated her life and work to the preservation of Palestinian musical folklore through collecting, reviving and modernising songs. Passing away in March 2018 after a decade long battle with cancer, she left behind a mesmerising heritage of resistance, creativity and community.

Arranging a tribute concert to Banna is therefore not only a celebration of resistance and victory through art, but also a celebration of her art that inspired her people’s continuous struggle for peace and equality; an act of preserving the oral and musical history she left behind. The anticipated concert premiered in 2019 the UK at London’s Shubbak Festival and Liverpool Arab Arts Festivals after a year-long collaboration between musicians.

Lending its name to this collective performance, ‘The Trace Of A Butterfly” comes from Banna’s album ‘Revelation Of Ecstasy And Rebellion’, which set Banna’s original melodies to the backdrop of ancient and modern poems from Tunisia, Palestine, Iraq, Persia and Andalusia. In this stunning project, Palestinian composer Faraj Suleiman takes the role of composer and music director, bringing together varied musical styles, ranging from jazz to hip-hop. Musicians and artists from France, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia come together to revive the life work of Rim.

For the London and Liverpool editions, Lebanese singer, song-writer and close friend Tania Saleh, Palestinian pianist and composer Faraj Suleiman, Syrian rapper and producer Bu Kulthoum and Tunisian singer and songwriter Sabrine Jenhani, each performed newly rearranged versions of Rim’s songs and celebrated her legacy in the presence of her. Each artist performed a select number of Banna’s iconic songs.  The varied musical experience of each artist, their memories, perceptions and images of Rim were skilfully blended together to highlight their fortes alongside Rim’s spectacular sounds paying respect to her unparalleled passion and charisma.

Shubbak Festival is a bi-annual festival and the largest celebration of Arabic arts and culture outside of the Arab World, while the Barbican is a performing arts centre in the City of London and the largest of its kind in Europe. After debuting in the British capital the show travelled North to the Royal Philharmonic Music Room in Liverpool as part of Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, the UK’s premier annual Arab arts festival.


About Rim Banna Rim Banna was born and raised in Nazareth, the daughter of Palestinian poet and activist Zuheirah Sabbagh. Her influence on Palestinian music was pivotal in that she collected and rearranged traditional songs from the Palestinian folklore in modern ways and brought them back into the present. Banna left an eclectic and unparalleled repertoire of 12 albums celebrating traditional and modern Palestinian and Arabic music and poetry. Rim studied music and singing at the High Institute for Music “Gnesins” in Moscow and her musical career spans numerous albums from 1986 until 2018. She was renowned for her presence at local and international festivals representing the plight and struggle of her people, appearing and performing in traditional Palestinian embroidery and adorned in heritage jewellery being a living incarnation of Palestinian cultural wealth.