Palestinian-Chilean Elyanna gives poignant performance of Olive Branch in Gouna

Ati Metwaly , Friday 15 Dec 2023

During the opening of the 6th El-Gouna Film Festival (GFF) yesterday, the Palestinian-Chilean singer and songwriter Elyanna gave a moving rendition of her newest song Ghosn Zeytoun (Olive Branch).


Footage shared by attendees at the GFF's opening ceremony shows the audience moved to tears by Elyanna's deeply emotional take on the song.

"Words aren’t enough, what else can I say? My tears have dried out, and my heart is broken I'm far away, but I’m praying for you. And I’m sending peace, on an olive branch. I’m far away, but I’m praying for you. And I’m sending peace, on an olive branch. In the land of peace, peace is dead. And the world is sleeping on a hurt child." Elyanna sings Arabic lyrics with her captivating voice, infusing each word of the song with strong emotion.

El-Gouna Film Festival posted Elyanna's live performance on Instagram commenting: "Her [Elyanna's] performance resonates with raw emotion, conveying the profound ache for her brethren in Gaza. It’s a heartrending portrayal of the wrenching pain, an acknowledgment of the limitations that confine her expressions solely within the realm of music amidst the harrowing reality of endured violence."

The song Olive Branch was first posted by Elyanna in October on her Instagram, accompanied by words: "In the past few days I've been struggling with my emotions to put them into words. It’s been hard to witness everything that has unfolded I'm worried and I'm praying for my family, friends, and my people back home." The song was later released as a developed music video, and uploaded to YouTube on 5 December.

The song is Elyanna's direct response to the tragedy that Palestine continues to endure. Since 7 October 18,787 Palestinians were killed and at least 50,000 were wounded in Israel's war on Gaza. The short yet poignant lyrics to Olive Branch were written by Elyanna, Feras Marjieh, and Abeer Marjieh. 

In solidarity with the Palestinian people, Elyanna has also canceled her November tour across the United States and Canada, which was her first North American tour.

Her presence at the El-Gouna Film Festival's opening proved to be extremely touching and fitting for the festival's expressions of solidarity with Palestine.

The festival’s 2023 edition was originally scheduled to take place on 13-20 October but was postponed only three days before it was set to begin at the end of October, with organizers citing the outbreak of the Israeli war on Gaza.

A few days later, the festival was postponed indefinitely, with the organizers announcing that they would donate EGP 5 million ($161,000) "to fortify the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, in partnership with the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development and the Egyptian Red Crescent Society."

Elian Marjieh (stage name Elyanna) was born in 2002 in Nazareth to a Christian Palestinian and Chilean family. She began singing at age seven posting several successful covers on SoundCloud. 

At age 15 (2017), she moved with her family to San Diego, California (eventually settling in Los Angeles) where she launched her music career. 

Elyanna has released two LPs: Elyanna (2020) and Elyanna II (2022). 

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