Musicians and activists from the organization Turning Tables support quality music production and the freedom of artistic expression for dissident hip hop and street artists across the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Published in The National on October 31, 2013 Barely a man, 16-year-old musician MC Amine raps into a video camera over a mellifluous […]
Hip-hop group look to escape Syria and release latest album Originally written for Rolling Stone Middle East and posted on June 06, 2013 When I first met 25-year-old rapper Yaser Jamous in Damascus early in 2010, he was a happy, self-assured young man. Two and a half years later, I log on to Skype for our scheduled […]
While Umm Kulthum will always be a national treasure, a crop of Egyptian female artists are challenging the old sound and style. For Bosaina II, a singer and electronic music producer who performs sensual dances in wild outfits, winning the love of Cairo has been a rocky mission. But for all the resistance she encounters, grateful […]
A new generation of musicians like Mike Massy is openly challenging the “plastic-surgery obsession and glam life” of the country’s thriving pop scene with their lyrics and performances. Originally written for Al-Monitor and posted on May 14. The last decade in Lebanon has seen a diverse alternative music scene growing and juxtaposing itself to the “ya habibi” pop […]
From Haifa to Ramallah, New York to San Francisco, the three Palestinian rappers from DAM have been busy promoting their new album Dabke on the Moon. But this time, more than a decade after first mesmerizing young Palestinians with political rhymes against Israeli oppression, the musicians have sparked criticism from an unlikely group — liberal Palestinian academics. […]
Der er blevet skrevet meget om musikkens rolle i de arabiske revolutioner. Især er hiphoppen blevet tillagt en indflydelse for mobilisering og oplysning. Men to år efter Mubaraks fald er landet præget af optøjer og splittelse, og musik scenen er delt mellem de, der rider på bølgen af revolutionsromantik, idealisterne samt kynikerne, som har mistet […]
The Syrian-American rapper talks charity, exile and Arab superheroes. The past year has been 30-year-old Syrian-American rapper Omar Offendum’s biggest to date. He’s played universities, festivals and clubs all over the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe and the Middle East, promoting his debut album SyrianamericanA. Since March, Offendum has played 10 different charity events for […]
In a small town in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank by the name Qalqiliya, lives a group of hip hop artists, skaters and guys doing parkour – climbing walls and jumping rooftops as a sport. They call themselves X-Games Team. On a recent trip to Palestine in January 2012, I went to Qalqilya to talk about […]
“I don’t think we can be arrogant enough to assume that music can influence the situation, it can oil the wheels, it can mobilize. But it is not in the studios and it is not coming from the speakers. The struggle is out there, the music provide the soundtrack to the struggle, in my view.” […]
Quick down and dirty storify of KhaledM going to Libya for the 1st time.
On tour in the states, the London-born Palestinian ‘First Lady of Arab Hip-Hop’ discusses her growth as an activist and artist. Published in Rolling Stone M.E. September 04, 2011 “You can take my falafel and hummus, but don’t f***ing touch my keffiyeh,” declares 26-year-old British-Palestinian MC Shadia Mansour from a New York stage as she introduces […]
"Power to the People" and "Fight the Power," proclaimed Chuck D of Public Enemy in 1990. Twenty years later, we are witnessing People Power fighting the Powers that be, throughout the Arab World and beyond. There is no direct link here, but it’s hard to dismiss that music and arts can play a significant role in mobilizing the masses during times of political change -- in Iraqi-British MC Lowkey's words, "oiling the wheels of the struggle.”
Arab artists in particular, whether in the Middle East or among the Arab Diaspora, are in very different ways using their platforms to push for social, cultural or political change - also before the 'Arab Spring' became a catchphrase.
This site displays stories that I come across on my journeys in the intersection between arts and activism in the Arab World. Enjoy!