by Mara Di Fuccia
Music has always been a source of distant histories and cultures. The migrant, the foreigner, brings with him/her every time he/she moves from his native country a different perspective, a place that is not static, but dynamic. Movement, travel, migration is also constantly activated by writing, which becomes a way to reject domination and find authority. The quill, the pen, the keys of a keyboard register a movement in which something is lost and more is gained. You lose the security of the point of origin, you gain knowledge of a language to which we are subject.
We listen, meet and live other stories. It is in this migratory landscape that a new history is written, broken up and remodeled in the light of what we have inherited and what we are. We must understand that borders are not indestructible walls, but areas of transit, of movement, which allow us to broaden our horizons. In this we are helped by music, which reveals its ability to transgress, to go beyond the institutions that produce it, unbalancing the harmonies of ideology: it is an important tool, which helps us to record the complexity of an articulated world.
Raï music, for example, shows how tradition is transformed following the passage to other cultural and historical places. Born as urban music linked to Algerian female culture, it is transported to the other side of the Mediterranean, where it is used as a predominantly male gender among the immigrant diasporas. Today there is a lot of the Arab style in the Western rhythm and, at the same time, there is a lot of the West in Arab music, especially in the contents, in the idea of making music to rebel against the regime, to defend human rights, to make hear your own voice.
Challenging his own regime, going against the current, it is a young Tunisian rapper, Hamada Ben Amor, nicknamed El Général, who in his song Rais Lebled shows an uncomfortable reality: he describes a disadvantaged society, in which women are marginalized, treated as an object, where injustice reigns and the voice of the people is not heard, where the dreams of young people are oppressed by the regime. We find the hip hop genre especially in Palestine, where three young boys, Tāmer, Suhīll Nafār and Maḥmūd Jrāri, gave birth to the DAM group. Interesting is their collaboration with the Arapeyat rappers in Al Huriye Unta (freedom for my sisters), in which violence against women is fought.
Furthermore, pop music also has another purpose, that of educating young audiences about the reality in which they live; in fact, many rappers declare that they do not make music for money, but to improve themselves and their society. From the experimentation of these groups, therefore, it can be understood that music is the only means capable of crossing borders to provide a new listening to political and cultural histories.