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  • Manchester I, like many of the young people across Britain, am a diehard hip hop fan but when we talk about rap only big names come to mind, Snoop Dog, Eminem, Tupac. I never thought that I would be jamming to rap in a foreign language but thats exactly what happened when I watched DAM (Da Arabian MCs) Palestine perform at Kraak in Manchester.

    The rap crew made up by brothers Suhell and Tamer Nafar and friend Mahmoud Jreri come from the village of Lyd in Israel. Since the late 1990s the bilingual trio has traveled the world performing songs in Hebrew, Arabic and English. The group is considered to be outspoken and is known for por-traying the harsh reality of the Palestin-ian people through its music.

    DAM has been using its status to promote charities and non-profit or-ganisations working within Palestine. The concert was in partnership with the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign an organization, which was collecting for the Khan Younis Mobile Library Pro-ject in Gaza city. The concert also had

    local poet Rafeef Ziadah and Arabic rap

    group Katibeh 5 supporting DAM.

    The venue Kraak was extremely con-cealed. Ive lived in Manchester my whole life and would consider my self a nightlife connoisseur, yet I had never heard of the place. Tucked down a little alleyway with KRAAK spray-painted across a brick wall I knew this would be no Club Armani. The entrance looked like the back door of takeaway but once I conquered the spiral staircase I found an uplifting atmosphere filled with a clique of Manchesters human right advocates.

    This was a new and unusual experience for me. I had been to rap gigs and Ar-abic music festivals in the past but this felt like West and East found each other on Tinder got married and now I was experiencing its offspring. Neverthe-less I was enjoying this fusion of classi-cal Arabic instruments and hard hitting lyrics. All though I know a little Arabic I didnt think it was import to be bilin-gual to enjoy the show. Tamer has been performing live shows across the globe for many years he said, Weve toured all across Europe an we dont have any songs in their native languages but we

    always have an awesome time on tour there.

    He added, A lot of the time the audience is not Arab especially when we tour the west . There was only five Arabs at the concert six including me, the rest were locals.

    Tamer was the front man for DAM. He hyped the audience and got the crowd

    pulsating and full of life. He was

    constantly engaging with the audience.

    D A M , G O O D R A P I N M A N C H E S T E R

    The venue was small so the perfor-mance felt laidback it was as if DAM was performing to a close group of friends. Tamer was accumulating a lot of laughs from the spectators, he was very comical entertainer. There was also a fair amount of banter between band members and this made the con-cert feel unconventional.

    The audience was jumping with excite-ment, as DAM performed there was

    the clich white guy with dread locks dancing his heart out. I dont know why but I seem to see a white guy with dreads at every concert I go to. Apart from ruining a few of my shots with his lushes locks the guy who I could only describe as a hippie looked like he was having the

    most fun out of everyone at the gig and he was drinking J2O.

    The band was encouraging the crowd to sing along with the cho-rus even if the song was in Arabic or Hebrew. DAM would translate a verse and get the audience to re-peat it until they responded loud and clear, this would happen for every two songs. This was another thing I had never seen at concert it was like Rosetta Stone for cool kids.

    At the end of the gig the band had this to say, You guys are awesome here in the UK we did our first tour back around 2003 and we get bigger following every time we come here. Tamer add-ed You guys have been showing massive support for Palestine like the people who organized the event they are super human.

    DAM has performed in 15 differ-ent cities through out the UK and will be next per-formed in London.

    Tamer singing DAMs 2001 hit Meen Al Habbi photgraph o by Kiays Khalil

    DAM Tamer middle, Mahmoud right and support vocalist Maeysa left photgraph o by Kiays Khalil

    Fans dance to the new single im in love with Jew photgraph o by Kiays Khalil

    By: Kiays Khalil The world renowned Palestinian Hip Hop group DAM are touring England promoting their new album Dabke On The Moon and raising awareness for charities working in Gaza.