I have written about William Ogmundson before, here and here. Sometimes when I get submissions to write about, it feels like the music doesn’t even matter. Of course I always listen first, but the story behind a song can be good enough for itself. This was the case with Williams latest song I will return. I’ll let William explain.
Tell us something about your track I will return!
I Will Return was released as a single. I wrote it when I was music directing fifth and sixth graders in Palestine this past April, and it was released May 31st. I considered putting it on my new album La Vie en Couleurs but decided to let it stand alone.
I was really struck by the resilience and strength in the face of adversity (the Arabic word is “Sumud”) that the Palestinians displayed, and above all their kindness and hospitality. The key is an important symbol in Palestine. When many of them were driven from their homes in 1967 they locked their doors and took their keys with them, assuming they would come back at some point. It’s been over fifty years and that obviously hasn’t happened, but the key is still a symbol of hope and the dove of course represents peace. The image was inspired by a piece of artwork from a refugee camp in Bethlehem. The artist had crafted it out of olive wood and a used tear gas canister. I loved the idea of taking something awful and turning it into something beautiful.
I wrote the track when I was staying in the village of Kafr Ni’ma (just outside of Ramallah). It was a strange dichotomy listening to the birds, the calls to prayer and all the other pastoral sounds of the village while also hearing in the distance the sounds of construction from the next hill over where the Israelis were building a huge new settlement. The idea with settlements is to build several in an area and then connect the dots, so to speak. Whenever Palestinians see another settlement being created, there is naturally a sense of anger and profound sadness, as they gradually see their land and way of life slipping away. I tried to capture all of this in a bittersweet song.
Thank you for this wonderful story William!