Saint Levant released his poignant single “Deira,” featuring 15-year-old Gazan rapper MC Abdul, on February 23. “Deira” showcases Saint Levant’s well-known moody tone while paying homage to his multicultural roots.

The Love For Our Precious Palestine

“Deira” is a nostalgic track that speaks of the exquisite, yet heartbreaking, affection Levant and Abdul have for their homeland — Palestine. The song is sung mainly in Arabic, coupled with a sweet Algerian-inspired instrumental. This combination perfectly captures the multifaceted aspects of Levant’s Palestinian identity with Algerian, French, and Serbian roots. 

The track itself is named after the word itself meaning “the old city.” “Deira” connects to the hotel “Al Deira” in Gaza as well — which was built by Levant’s father, Rashid — and its tragic destruction by bombs. The same bombs that destroyed the hotel also claimed the lives of four Palestinian children in the surrounding area. Levant’s gentle vocals paired with MC Abdul’s somber rap blend together in this song that celebrates Palestinian culture, the resilience of their people, and their firm desire for freedom.

The accompanying music video gives some insight on the daily life of Palestinians, showing a father play-fighting with his son, children playing soccer outside, and a group of men enjoying tea around a table. Various shots through a dreamy lens that romanticizes the rich culture of their people flash by: men and women laughing and singing along while donning keffiyehs; an older woman making tea in a hijab paired with an abaya; and hands opening and peeling pomegranates, a fruit that hails from the Middle East.  

Together with the stunning visuals and touching lyrics, Levant and Abdul convey their love and mourn the loss of their treasured home. The dream of freedom can be felt deeply as Levant sorrowfully sings, “Oh, my homeland, so much joy, so much sorrow, oh, my precious homeland our beloved Palestine is calling.”

Who Is Saint Levant?

Marwan Abdelhamid, better known as Saint Levant is a 23-year-old rapper born in Jerusalem during the second Intifada. He spent a majority of his childhood in the Gaza Strip before fleeing to Jordan in 2007 and eventually moving to California. Levant broke through into stardom after the release of his debut EP, From Gaza, With Love. Levant is known for his trilingual music, melding together English, French, and Arabic to create genre-bending music that is sexy, political, and addictive. 

Keep up with Saint Levant by following him on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

Interested in reading about more Palestinian artists? Check out our piece on 7 Things To Know About Nemahsis here!