Archive for April, 2010

Hamas Hates on Hip Hop

April 26, 2010 Leave a comment

This just in from Haaretz (via Reuters):

Hamas police have broken up the Gaza Strip’s first major hip-hop concert.

The B Boy Gaza group had just started a lively dance set late on Saturday in a crowded auditorium when police from the Islamist Hamas group that rules the Gaza Strip ended the performance with shouts of “the show is over”, witnesses said.

“I told one of the policemen that rap meant respect for all people, but he didn’t seem to be listening. He said it was an immoral dance,” one of the dancers said.

Hamas officials said the performance, in a conservative enclave where most musical shows strike a nationalistic note, was shut down only because organizers had not applied for a police permit for the gathering.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said police confiscated cameras and tapes at the venue and arrested six of the performers. They were released after signing a pledge not to hold further performances without police permission.

Hamas has denied accusations by Gaza human rights groups that it is trying to impose Islamic law in the enclave where 1.5 million Palestinians live. In public speeches, Hamas leaders have urged Palestinians to adhere to Islamic values.

(Photo Credit: Abigail Hauslohner for TIME)


Chen Lo & the Liberation Family tour the Middle East/North Africa with the US State Dept. & Jazz at Lincoln Center

April 24, 2010 1 comment

Photo credit: Frank Stewart for Jazz at Lincoln Center

My peoples Chen Lo and the Liberation Family just returned from an incredible tour of the Middle East and North Africa, sponsored by the USState Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Jazz at Lincoln Center, as part of the Rhythm Road program. The 4-member Brooklyn-based Hip Hop band, composed of vocalist Chen Lo, bassist Baassik, turntablist/producer DJ Scandales, and percussionist Ken White, traveled to Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, coordinated by the local American Embassies. And, the best part is, they actually got to perform with some prominent local groups, such as NORES in Salé, Morocco; Murder Eyez in Aleppo, Syria; and DJ Lethal Skillz in Beirut, Lebanon. Kudos to the State Department and its embassies for selecting reallocal groups in each city (as opposed to unknown amateurs who just fit the part). Here’s a clip from their visit to Salé, Morocco (via the US Embassy in Rabat and Hit Radio):

More videos, photos, and personal blogging from Chen Lo and the fam at:

US Embassy Sponsors Hip Hop in Nepal

April 23, 2010 3 comments

From the US Embassy in Kathmandu (courtesy of CAO Terry White)

From March 1-6, the U.S. Embassy sponsored Hip-Hop themed workshops, master classes, and concerts, reaching more than 2,500 Nepali youth.

The U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu sponsored three hip hop artists from the Global Block Foundation targeting youth in Pokhara (approximately 200km west of Kathmandu) and the capital Kathmandu from March 1 to 6, 2010.  This program was a part of the State Department’s Performing Arts Initiative.

In Pokhara 90 hip-hop enthusiasts attended workshops and more than 1,000 students enjoyed public exhibitions at their school premises.  In Kathmandu 320 youth hip-hop enthusiasts attended six different workshops, master classes and lectures with themes ranging from “Origins of Hip-Hop” to “Basic Rhyme/Positive Expression.” In addition, 600 students in Kathmandu enjoyed an interactive public exhibition at their school. The group also participated in a jam session with local musicians in front of 250 music lovers. The Global Block Foundation’s program culminated in a night concert in conjunction with local artists and musicians with 300 audience members.

The participants were principally youth (particularly high school aged students), musicians, educators, rappers, and dancers. Approximately 30% of all participants were female.

Very glad to see Terry White keepin Hip Hop Diplomacy alive wherever he goes. More on this soon…