Lana Lubany’s ‘The Holy Land’ Asks “Where Is the Point of No Return?”
The Palestinian pop artist’s debut EP introspectively unravels the themes of home and belonging.
Melodically penning identity is but a mere pass-time for Palestinian pop artist Lana Lubany. No long silences underscore her visceral representation of the country she so proudly calls home, for the polemics are as interwoven in her psyche as they are into every ballad she constructs. An introspective deep dive into the circumstances that consistently shape her, Lubany’s debut EP ‘The Holy Land’ captures the ephemeral nature of discernment, simultaneously addressing the despondency that arises when one cannot weave the puzzle pieces fast enough to configure a solid identity.
“I have been waiting a long time for an opportunity to tell my story; one of a girl who wanted to follow her dream no matter what,” Lubany tells Scene Noise. “Even when things took way longer than she’d expected, even when she started losing faith in herself or when she almost forgot why she was doing this in the first place, she persevered. If she hadn't I wouldn’t have released the first body of work that candidly shares my struggles and all the paths I took to get here.”
Cognizant of the success she was garnering on social media, and the industry individuals who’ve seen beyond her pop facade, Lubany felt - for the first time in a long time - as though she was finally impervious to the gussied up shield commercial genres placed on her. She let down her iron-clad guard, lyrically embodying her hybrid existence as well as the multifarious lens through which she navigates life.
“Everybody has an opinion on my identity, but the one thing they agree on is that I’m from a place called The Holy Land,” Lubany explains. “Growing up here [in Palestine] made me who I am and it gave me so much: culture, family, friends, an identity crisis, trauma and an incredible childhood. When I moved to London a few years ago, I found myself missing my comfort zone, which I had to get out of in order to follow my dream, and suddenly my identity finally made sense to me. I went from lost, to knowing myself and proudly accepting myself for who I am.”
It was during the most tumultuous of times that Lubany begrudgingly entered a musical battle, hastingly reaching for notes, chords and Arabic-riddled choruses to quench her thirst for solace, “THE SNAKE is a precise embodiment of the moment ‘bad’ slithers its way into your life, disguised as a serpent of sorts that you naively let it in because it’s subconsciously easier to succumb than to fight the intrusion.”
Lubany’s armour faltered beneath the haunting pressure looming over her shoulders, causing a rift that - at the time - possessed no viable antidote. The intrusion metastasised, creating a symbiotic relationship between Lubany and the ‘girl she once knew’; the budding artist who once vowed to face the ferocious demons dictating her life. “SOLD captures the juncture at which you stagnate at an interpersonal level,” she candidly expresses. “The moment you start to look for shortcuts and never attempt to leave your comfort zone.”
That notion of stagnation only gained momentum, rendering itself visible in the form of an overwhelming state of commonplaceness, and feeding on the fissures that fueled Lubany’s understanding of herself, “CLONES is the most cyclical of the songs on my EP. It epitomises being trapped in a vicious cycle of mediocrity, avoiding commitment and constantly alternating between many faces. A time where you’re unwillingly fastened in a loop with all the clones that you’ve created of yourself, slowly losing your identity.”
The mirrors Lubany depicts hold captive our reflections, yet they fail to capture the true essence that resides within. They merely present a fleeting glimpse, an incomplete portrait of our intricate souls, leaving untold stories and hidden depths untouched by their silvered glass.
“WHERE’S MY IRIS? And POINT OF NO RETURN dive into the depths of disorientation and the absence that renders you incapable of recognising yourself in the mirror anymore. They hone in on the instances whereby you’re staring at the blank face of a stranger looking back at you with soulless eyes following your every move; a moment that feels like the point of no return.”
Cutting through the haze of her disgruntled beginnings, Lubany’s perseverance ultimately untangles her from the web of displacement tugging on her heart strings, “EXPECTATIONS and RENAISSANCE follow the catharsis that supersedes hardship. You decide it’s time to get up off the ground and try again. You embrace the good and the bad. You realise the healing process takes time and it’s bittersweet, but it’s also your revolution and your renaissance.”
In the embrace of solitude, amidst the familiar whispers of ‘The Holy Land’, Lubany found the path back to herself. The artist’s denouement saw a blazing rise on her track ‘ON MY WAY’, whereby the labyrinth of convoluted emotions she so powerfully denotes throughout the EP halt in the face of acceptance. “In an ironic cycle, you go back to where you started, home. You end up finding the upgraded version of yourself, the true you, and the person you were longing to become. You inevitably realise, that against all odds, you took the long route, the scenic route, back home.”
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