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There is a Palestinian group that differs from the others, they do hip hop and in 19 years they have raised the level of Arab rap both for texts and for rhythm, becoming a legend in the occupied territories
A random discovery
I admit it: I listened for the first time to the rhythm of DAM during a Netanyahu spot. A Netanyahu’s spot? Yes, during the elections, the future Israeli prime minister had created a themed spot: a car of Arab terrorists asked an Orthodox where Jerusalem was. The answer is a simple “Left”, very simple so clear to voters. Everything soundtrack? Obviously the DAM.
From the Arab ghetto of Lod
The DAM were born in 1999 in the Israeli city of Lod, 15 km from Tel Aviv and are formed by Mahmoud Jreri and the brothers Suhell and Tamer Nafar, the latter true leader of the group. Their name already carries within it the fundamental themes of this group. Dam in fact means “resist to the end” in Arabic and also has a meaning in Hebrew, not for this sweeter: “blood”.
The group revolutionized the Israeli Palestinian cultural and musical scene by giving both Palestinians in Israel and those in the occupied territories dignity and new music in rhythm but ancient in spirit. In the pieces of the DAM we can find many references to classical singers of Arabic music such as Fairouz or Umm Kulthum, adapted however on decidedly hip-hop bases. The group’s themes are mainly social: the Israeli occupation, drugs, women’s rights and the poverty that Israeli governments have caused among the Palestinians.
Palestinians in Israel
As with Mahmoud Darwish, the DAMs have always had to live the condition of exiles in their own land and this is reflected in many aspects of their productions. Just think that, together with Arabic, the band also raps in English and Hebrew, in so doing they have managed over the years to have many collaborations with great Israeli artists and rappers.
An example of this was the collaboration between Tamer Nafar and Kobi Shimoni, aka “Subliminal”. The collaboration ended with the beginning of the second Intifada when both the DAM and the Subliminal sided clearly for the Palestinians the first and for the Zionists the second. From this dissing a documentary called “Channels of Rage” was born which then won the Volgin Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival in 2003.
Even after 19 years, the DAM have no intention of giving up and after 100 singles and 2 albums they are ready to light up for their people, to push them not to give up dreaming, one day, of a united and anti-racist Palestine.
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