REFUGEES OF RAP
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REFUGEES OF RAP

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Band Hip Hop Hip Hop

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Sep
06
REFUGEES OF RAP @ IMAGES FESTIVAL Copenhagen

Copenhagen, None, Denmark

Copenhagen, None, Denmark

Sep
03
REFUGEES OF RAP @ IMAGES FESTIVAL Aarhus

Aarhus, None, Denmark

Aarhus, None, Denmark

May
23
REFUGEES OF RAP @ Ørestad Gymnasium Ørestad Gymnasium concert

Aarhus, None, Denmark

Aarhus, None, Denmark

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Music

Press


Syrian rappers are split about how to engage in the fronts of an uprising that have turned to civil war. President Bashar al-Assad’s fear-based society is making everyone think twice.



Refugees of Rap, a group of rappers from the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk in Syria, has a new album ready for release about a Syrian revolution they thought would have materialised in 2011. But with the escalating violence, they hold back, afraid of retaliation from the Syrian government.

Al Sayyed Darwish from Homs has moved to Lebanon to release a pro-revolution album of his group Latlateh there. So has Assasi Nun Fuse from Aleppo, but he has his politics turned down, while Sham MCs in Damascus are attempting to party the war away.



BY JANNE LOUISE ANDERSEN • OCTOBER 2012 • [A4 PDF]



Refugees of Rap is four rappers of Syrian, Palestinian and Algerian background from the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk Camp in Damascus. They began making music in 2005, have performed all over Syria and across the Levant, and have released two albums Laj2e Al-Rap [Refugees Of Rap] in 2007 and Face 2 Face in 2010.

I met them in Damascus in February 2010, and when I heard the camp was under attack from the Syrian army in August 2012, I began a series of skype-interviews with the 25-year-old rapper Yaser from the group.

When I log on for our first skype-interview on 3 September 2012, Yaser asks on the chat if we can postpone the interview a little. But when he returns and turns on his webcam, I can see that something is utterly wrong.

A rocket has struck close to his house and killed his uncle and grandfather as they are waiting for a taxi that will take them to Lebanon.

There is a shrill crying in the background, it comes from his aunt.

Through Yaser’s webcam I can see two children at the window looking down on the street, but their mother, Yaser’s sister, yells that it’s unsafe and pulls them away.

Yaser’s brows are furrowed and his shoulders sag. He is constantly distracted by his family around him and the sounds from the street. He answers my questions in a weak voice. Little resembles of the self-assured grinning rapper I met to years earlier.



Dissident songs in hiding online

The group has had an album ready for release for months.

“We have about 10 songs, all critical of the government, but we have so far not dared to release them anywhere,” Yaser says.

The rappers recorded the songs the past year in a brand new UN-funded studio in the camp, which they call Sout Al Shaab – The Voice of the People. Here, they have also held hip-hop workshops for the children of the camp. But since a rocket struck next to the studio, they are all just sitting at home with their families, following the news and writing rap lyrics.

Yaser has uploaded all their songs to a cloud server. “If the army comes to our house and finds the music, I don’t know what will happen,” he says and mentions the killing of Ibrahim Qashoush, a protest singer who in July 2011 was found in a river with his vocal chords ripped out.

“That was a message that if you want to sing about the regime, we take your throat. And you can go and die, but what about the rest of the family?” Yaser says and refers to the parents of pianist Malek Jandali, who were beaten a few days after Jandali performed at a pro-democracy rally for Syria in front of the White House in Washington D.C. in September 2011.

“Did you hear that?” he suddenly asks.

Another rocket hit the camp.

There’s new crying in the background. Then the connection is lost. The power is gone. When it comes back five hours later, Yaser says that another resident has been killed. He sends me bloody images of his dead uncle and the destruction in the camp.

“It’s so hard to feel what we feel right now. My heart is beating so fast and my adrenaline is pumping. All the streets are empty,” he says.

And then the connection is lost again.



Holding back

The intense shelling and assassinations by snipers on roofs had been going on for two months since Syrian refugees started coming to the camp for shelter and treatment at the camp hospital. When the residents of the camp, mainly Palestinian and Iraqi refugees, accommodated them, the government saw it as siding with the opposition. They also claimed that the FSA was operating from inside the camp, and that’s when the rockets started dropping.

Yaser wants to share some of their lyrics and begins to recite:



The era of silence is over.
Why does injustice come from just one man?
You should stand up and say it straight from your heart,
and wake up from your nightmare.
There is nothing to fear.
You can say what you want,
the era of silence is over.



The message of the lyrics mostly seems like wishful thinking for Yaser and the group who say they are holding back their dissident music, until they are sure that their families are safe from government reprisals.

But they have been wait - Artsfreedom


Five-part series following a year in the life of four schools in Damascus, a high pressure crossroads in the Middle East.

It concentrates on some remarkable characters finding their way in a country that has never before opened ordinary life up to the cameras in this way, challenges the usual cliches of Arab life and charts the highs and lows of the school year.

Yarmouk Girls' Secondary School sits in the heart of a Palestinian refugee camp that has sat on the southern edge of the city for over sixty years. Nearly all its students are Palestinian, coming of age in a society obsessed with its Palestinian identity and right to return to its homeland.

Two schoolgirls are breaking the mould. Shaza and Rahaf dream of serving the Palestinian cause though rap music, but their plans put them on a collision course with their parents and traditionalist head teacher as they try to bring their radical rap into the classroom - BBc




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Arab Hip Hop and the Arab Awakening
Fear, threats and self-censorship among Syrian rappers
By Janne Louise Andersen · October 23, 2012 · Post a comment
Filed Under arabic hip hop, Bashar al-Assad, censorship, fear, FSA, Ibrahim Qashoush, revolution, Syria, Syrian rappers, uprising, war



Mic Son from Sham MCs

Syrian rappers are split about how to engage in the fronts of an uprising that have turned to civil war. President Bashar al-Assad’s fear-based society is making everyone think twice.

Refugees of Rap, a group of rappers from the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk in Syria, has a new album ready for release about a Syrian revolution they thought would have materialised in 2011. But with the escalating violence, they hold back, afraid of retaliation from the Syrian government.

Al Sayyed Darwish from Homs has moved to Lebanon to release a pro-revolution album of his group Latlateh there. So has Assasi Nun Fuse from Aleppo, but he has his politics muted, while Sham MCs in Damascus are attempting to party the war away.

Published by Freemuse on artsfreedom.org

BY JANNE LOUISE ANDERSEN • OCTOBER 2012 • [A4 PDF]


Refugees of Rap is four rappers of Syrian, Palestinian and Algerian background from the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk Camp in Damascus. They began making music in 2005, have performed all over Syria and across the Levant, and have released two albums Laj2e Al-Rap [Refugees Of Rap] in 2007 and Face 2 Face in 2010.

I met them in Damascus in February 2010, and when I heard the camp was under attack from the Syrian army in August 2012, I began a series of skype-interviews with the 25-year-old rapper Yaser from the group.

When I log on for our first skype-interview on 3 September 2012, Yaser asks on the chat if we can postpone the interview a little. But when he returns and turns on his webcam, I can see that something is utterly wrong.

A rocket has struck close to his house and killed his uncle and grandfather as they are waiting for a taxi that will take them to Lebanon.

There is a shrill crying in the background, it comes from his aunt.

Through Yaser’s webcam I can see two children at the window looking down on the street, but their mother, Yaser’s sister, yells that it’s unsafe and pulls them away.

Yaser’s brows are furrowed and his shoulders sag. He is constantly distracted by his family around him and the sounds from the street. He answers my questions in a weak voice. Little resembles of the self-assured grinning rapper I met to years earlier.



Dissident songs in hiding online

The group has had an album ready for release for months.

“We have about 10 songs, all critical of the government, but we have so far not dared to release them anywhere,” Yaser says.

The rappers recorded the songs the past year in a brand new UN-funded studio in the camp, which they call Sout Al Shaab – The Voice of the People. Here, they have also held hip-hop workshops for the children of the camp. But since a rocket struck next to the studio, they are all just sitting at home with their families, following the news and writing rap lyrics.

Since the killing of Ibrahim Qashoush, a protest singer who in July 2011 was found in a river with his vocal chords ripped out, the group doesn’t keep physical copies of their music anywhere.

“That was a message that if you want to sing about the regime, we take your throat. And you can go and die, but what about the rest of the family?” Yaser says and refers to the parents of pianist Malek Jandali, who were beaten a few days after Jandali performed at a pro-democracy rally for Syria in front of the White House in Washington D.C. in September 2011.

“Did you hear that?” he suddenly asks.

Another rocket hit the camp. - VOICES OF ARAB DISSENT


Discography

Face 2 Face 2010
Laj2e Al-Rap (Refugees Of Rap)

Photos

Bio

The Palestinian-Syrian pionéer Hip Hop band performed at the Opera House in Damaskus and some of the biggest festivals in Cairo, at the rise of the Revolution but after several death threats due to their political statements, they had to escape Syria, and became once again refugees.
In danger because of their music and words, critical to their system, their government and the lack of freedom and security.
But their struggle for Human Rights did not stop, and the message gets stronger due to the sad realities.
Refugees Of Rap is made of 4 guys from Damascus, Syria. Yaser Jamous and his brother Muhammad hail from Palestine, Ahmad is from Algeria, while Muhammad Jawad Is Syrian. Despite their different backgrounds, they all felt Hip Hop music when they first heard it 1997 and it brought them together to express their own ideas through rap. Their songs talk about Social and Political Problems of young people, poverty and the new generation of revolution. They want to send their message to everyone, not just to young people – a difficult job in Syria, where people don’t understand rap very well. Refugees Of Rap are working on their own to change people’s ideas about Hip Hop. Although they occasionally sing in English, their focus is on bringing Arabic Rap to the rest of the world. Since the group started in 2005, the guys have released two underground albums 1-Refugees Of Rap laj2e Al-Rap (2007) 2- Face 2 Face (2010) and performed in concerts all around Syria , Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and they’ve performed at Opera House Damascus, Opera House in Cairo ,Al-Jalaa’ Stadium, Damascus, Al-Fehaa Stadium, Damascus, at many Universities, and at Arab Cultural Centers etc. They have their own studio called "Sout Al Shaab" (The Voice Of People). They’ve also been featured in the media: the BBC World , The Guardian, Turkeys TV, TRT Turk , Al-An satellite channel , Al-jazera TV MBC and Syrian Channels, the FM radio in Syria, the newspaper around Syria and Middle East. So besides the music, they used the have the medias attention to pass their messages.
Finally they had to flee from Syria. The band therefor split up in March 2013, the two brothers escaped to Sweden, Ahmad to Irak, and Jawad to a yet unknown destination.
Despite the unspeakable troubles, their 3rd album is on its way to be released in 2013 and are already planning tours in Europe to advocate for Peace in Syria.