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Dandanat Palestinian Swedish Cultural Encounter

Contributed by This Week In Palestine on 30.05.2008:

Bethlehem Music Festival

The International Center of Bethlehem (Dar Annadwa) and the Swedish Christian Study Centre in Jerusalem (BILDA) are preparing once again to welcome young, arts-focused Palestinians and Swedes to Ad-Dar Hall for the annual Dandanat Music Festival. From its beginning in 2005, Dandanat has been a place of cultural and artistic exchange between young people from Palestine and Sweden. Each year, a new group of young artists gather together to interact through music, dance, food, workshops, social gatherings, and tours. In this way, they get to know each other as artists, exchanging musical knowledge and technical know-how, and as friends, discussing the common concerns and challenges of growing up in countries as different as Sweden and Palestine.

The Dandanat project started in 2005 as a joint initiative between BILDA and Dar Annadwa. During the three-day festival, the participants gather during the day in workshops designed to allow them to get to know each other and learn from one another’s techniques, styles, and methods. Traditional and modern dance styles and musical genres from folk and rock and roll to Oriental and hip-hop are explored and blended so that every year the festival has a totally unique flavour. At night, the artists perform for each other and for the public in Ad-Dar Hall at Dar Annadwa.

Traditionally, on the third and final night is a concert of collaboration between the Palestinian and Swedish artists, who combine their musical styles and performances in a great celebration of art bringing people together.

The 2008 festival is set to take place from 3-5 July, featuring nine musical and dance groups; four groups from Sweden and five from Palestine. From Palestine are El-Funoun Palestinian Dance Troupe (Ramallah), singer/songwriter Bassam Bayroumi, the Ibdaa’ Folk Dance Troupe (Bethlehem/Dheisheh Refugee Camp), rapper Sameh Zakout, and rock and roll group Redline (Majdal Shams). Representing Sweden will be rock and roll groups Crystal Phillips and Gasoline Queen, singer/songwriter Lena Malmborg, and modern dance group Avensis.

Year after year, this project continues to break many barriers, both physical and mental. It is breaking the Israeli-imposed isolation of our people, our culture, and our towns and villages, and it is certainly altering the preconceived and stereotypical notions about Palestine that are carried by our Swedish guests as a result of the polluted and misinformed Western media.

Jiries Abu Ghannam,

This Week in Palestine

June 2008

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