23 December 2008

Hardline Hardcore

The NYT has two stories right now about Muslim and Orthodox Jewish music: “Young Muslims Build a Subculture on an Underground Book” and “Hanukkah Receives Kosher Pop Welcome”.

“I’m a Muslim and I’m 100-percent American,” Ms. DeWulf said, “so I can criticize my faith and my country. Rebellion? Punk? This is totally American.”


The novel’s Muslim characters include Rabeya, a riot girl who plays guitar onstage wearing a burqa and leads a group of men and women in prayer. There is also Fasiq, a pot-smoking skater, and Jehangir, a drunk.

Such acts — playing Western music, women leading prayer, men and women praying together, drinking, smoking — are considered haram, or forbidden, by millions of Muslims.


One band, the Kominas, wrote a song called “Suicide Bomb the Gap,” which became Muslim punk rock’s first anthem.

Sure, that makes tons of sense. PS: Grow the fuck up.

Matisyahu, who was born Matthew Miller, sings explicitly devotional songs about God, Moshiach (the Messiah) and Orthodox Jewish identity. By setting them to reggae, rock and hip-hop beats, and after working his way up the jam-band circuit, he also reaches listeners with their minds on more secular pursuits, like dancing and drugs. Simcha Levenberg, the M.C. who introduced him, drew big laughs with jokes about marijuana and LSD, although Matisyahu’s song “King Without a Crown” insisted, “If you’re trying to stay high, then you’re bound to be low.”

Man... kids these days.

Currently listening to: Lady Sovereign’s a free download.

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