Palestine’s biggest pop star sings material from his newest album alongside familiar favourites from his time on TV talent show, Arab Idol.
Sharply dressed, handsome and with a faultless voice, Mohammed Assaf seems like your typical poster boy pop star, but his story is far from usual. Overcoming incredible odds to get an audition – travelling from the Gaza Strip to Egypt, navigating difficult checkpoints along the way, the boy who grew up in a refugee camp has become an inspiration and figure of unity for the whole of Palestine, and a human face of Gaza for the rest of the world.
His songs vary from ballads of faith and freedom – effortlessly sung with immense power, to syncopated, shuffling pop, heavily influenced by the Egyptian dance music scene and backed by swirling strings and percussion.
His rags-to-riches story, reminiscent of a Hollywood block buster, has been made into a film, The Idol, released in 2015, but it’s his raw talent and sincerity which really makes his appeal international.