Sunday, August 20, 2006
Article entitled "Levantine Hip-Hop 101: Who's who in the Middle East rap game," by Neal Ungerleider, appearing in Slate on Friday. The title of the article is misleading, for this is really about hip-hop in Israel and Palestine. Over the last year or so, a number of such articles have appeared in the US media. And like the others, on the Palestinian side, the article focuses on the Palestinian-Israeli group Dam. Ungerleider is incorrect about the Arabic translation for "Dam": it means "lasting" or "persisting," not "blood." (It's pronounced more or less like the English word "dam"; "blood" in Arabic is "damm," with a short "a" and a doubled "m.") Ungerleider offers more discussion of Israeli rappers than I've seen before. Like the previous articles, he discusses Israeli rapper Subliminal, who used to be close to Dam's leader Tamer Naffar but has since become right-wing. He also mentions Sagol 59 and Rebel Sun, who he says, are leftwing, unlike Subliminal.
But here's the most interesting piece of info: he announces an "Israeli and Palestinian Hip-Hop Showcase for Peace," to occur in New York City in September as part of the Jewish Music and Heritage Festival. The organizers call a "hip-hop sulha." A "sulha" is a traditional Palestinian mechanism that aims at peacemaking and reconciliation. The artists include (and I quote) "Top-selling Israeli hip-hop artist Shaanan Street of HaDag Nachash (whose last U.S. tour sold-out coast-to-coast); Palestinian rapper Saz (who has been the subject of two documentary films); Jewish American beatboxer Yuri Lane; the godfather of Jerusalem's underground hip-hop scene, Sagol 59; Orthodox Jewish rap sensation Y-Love; turntablist sensation DJ Spooky; DJ Handler; and the frontmen of two of the West Coast’s leading Palestinian hip-hop outfits, Ragtop of the Philistines and Omar of the N.O.M.A.D.S."
Tags: Palestine, Israel, hip-hop
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
From Agence France Presse: "Baghdad used to be renowned for the quality of lutes turned out by its artisans. Iraqi lutes were so sought after that special government permission was needed for them to be exported."