Ramallah Underground

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Ramallah Underground, based in Ramallah, Palestine, is a musical collective born from the desire to give voice to a generation of Palestinians and Arabs, in a situation of great economic, artistic, and political difficulty.[1] The collective was founded by artists Stormtrap, Handala, and Boikutt, later joined by Aswatt, who aim to rejuvenate Arabic culture by creating "music that Arabic youth can relate to," in the words of Boikutt.[2] They rap in Arabic,[3] and are credited as some of the founders of Palestinian hip-hop.[4] Their music combines hip-hop, trip hop, and downtempo, besides more traditional Middle-Eastern music,[5] with a commitment to their local culture and an awareness of the imposing presence of Palestine in their lives.

As producers and as MCs, the collective has collaborated with numerous artists across the globe, most recently Slovo, Boikutt appears on the track "Nakba" from their new album Todo Cambia.[6] They have performed live in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Vienna, Melbourne (at the Melbourne International Arts Festival[7]), Liverpool,[8] Cairo, Lausanne, Amsterdam (as part of "Rap4Justice" in the Melkweg[9]), and Washington, D.C., and recently incorporated a visual set by Palestinian visual artist Ruanne Abou-Rahme in their live performances.[10]

Ramallah Underground does not have an official release yet and mostly uses the internet as a way of circulating their music. In fact, their MySpace page led David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet to ask them to collaborate on a piece, "Tashweesh," composed by Boikutt, which the quartet started playing live in 2008.[11][12] and which is included on their 2009 release Floodplain.[13]


No Borders (EP, self-released, 2006)[1]


  1. ^ a b Randall, Dave (February 2006). "Hip-hop is part of Palestine’s cultural intifada". Socialist Worker online. Retrieved 21 May 2009. 
  2. ^ Issa, Wafa; Suhail Al Rais (23 July 2007). "Hip-hop singer conveys hope under occupation". Gulfnews.com. Retrieved 21 May 2009. 
  3. ^ Carr, Joe (27 August 2005). "East Meets West in Ramallah". Citizens for Justice in the Middle East. Retrieved 21 May 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ Rawoot, Ilham (9 May 2009). "Band aid for Palestine". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2009. 
  5. ^ Chen, Michelle (9 May 2008). "Rap the Casbah". In These Times. Retrieved 20 May 2009. 
  6. ^ "Why music and politics do mix". The Morning Star. 21 June 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ Griffin, Michelle (15 July 2009). "Reigning arts festival returns". The Age. Retrieved 29 July 2009. 
  8. ^ "Liverpool hosts Arab arts and culture festival". Liverpool Daily Post. 19 July 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2009. 
  9. ^ Maes, John (6 December 2006). "Rappen voor rechtvaardigheid". Sp!ts (in Dutch). Retrieved 21 May 2009. 
  10. ^ Lidia, Ravviso (13 October 2008). "Ramallah Underground: non solo musica". Stile. Arte.it. Retrieved 21 May 2009. 
  11. ^ Denselow, Robin (29 September 2008). "Rev. of Alim Qasimov & Kronos Quartet/The Kamkars". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2009. 
  12. ^ Kozinn, Allan (25 November 2008). "The Week Ahead: Nov. 30-Dec. 6". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 May 2009. 
  13. ^ Stabler, David (13 May 2009). "New Kronos CD: Wild beauty". The Oregonian (in Dutch). Retrieved 21 May 2009.