Brodas Bros bring the streets of Barcelona to Amman

Yesterday at the KHCC in Ras-el-Ein, the Instituto Cervantes and the Spanish Embassy of Amman presented the Brodas Bros, a Catalan Hiphop dance group (Facebook). And they were AWESOME. I had my reservations before going to the show, I’m not a fan of urban dancing in particular, but the Brodas are a lot more than that. Sitting through that show for an hour and a half, it cannot be described with any other word than complete.
I was very impressed by how they  used the entire medium available at the theater, whether it’s the space available, the sounds, the lighting. It was a feast for the senses. My favorite part of the show was when they shut all the lights, and performed with flashlights in their hands, it just seemed surreal, as they danced on the roof of the theater with their shadows, and that was just the most brilliant moment of a very brilliant show.

Brodas Bros Rock!
Brodas Bros Rock!

The dancing itself was great, some of the best urban dancing I’ve seen, and the styles were just so varied that I wish I was a hip-hop expert so I can name them all. They played their own music, with drums, a saxophone, a flute, and beatbox, and they also had some recorded stuff. Every dance number had a theme that they’ve explored, such as alcoholism, sexuality and such, but it wasn’t at all very serious, they weren’t afraid of using humour, particularly using their dexterity with dancing.

In the end, I have to applaud their energy, because the show started strong, stayed strong throughout, and it finished strong. The group made everybody in the stage get up, and jump, as they played their last number. And here comes the best part, they exited through the main doors of the theater and waited for everybody else to follow them outside, where they talked to the people. It was amazing to see that no matter how professional the show was, that they were true to their roots as a street group. They even found a group of Jordanian urban dancers and made a makeshift dance circle in the lobby. I applaud them highly for making last night simply unforgettable.

If you’ve missed the show, here is a video from their Vimeo page.


What’s up Amman? Cafe Des Artistes’ Artist Talks

Last Wednesday at around 8pm, Cafe des Artistes opened their glass pane front, and for a while it became a public place where people stopped and listened to known Artist Ammar Khammash and several patrons discussing art, and artists. I had my doubts about the location at first when I heard about the event, but it worked perfectly, and I was just happy I attended my first summer-y Amman event this year. Lots of people didn’t know what to expect, and the discussion started out slowly, but then a couple of good points were raised.

From what I heard, this appears to be the first in a series of Artist Talks, and I would definitely try to make it to more events like these, I just hope the next events become more engaging and less Q&A like.

Cafe des Artistes' Artist Talks
Cafe des Artistes' Artist Talks

An Argument for Counter-culture in Jordan

I read about this argument for counterculture, by Indian theologian Dr. Sebastian Kappen, that I think applies for our region. (Emphasis is mine.)

Dr. Kappen envisages counterculture as a new culture that has to negate the two opposing cultural phenomena in Asian countries:

  • invasion by Western capitalist culture, and
  • the emergence of revivalist movements.

Kappen writes, “Were we to succumb to the first, we should be losing our identity; if to the second, ours would be a false, obsolete identity in a mental universe of dead symbols and delayed myths“.

What’s Up Amman? Music, Y Open Web, TT and Exams

What’s up Amman is my regular series of updates from my narrow point of view on what’s going on in Amman. If you’re a university student, then you probably just finished struggling with your midterm exams. Such a crappy timing as well, with all the amazing events that have been going on this month.

I was lucky enough to attend Yahoo! Developer morning last week, which was more or less a morning long session presented by the brilliant Christian Heilmann. It was a great chance to network and learn about many new technologies that we in the region could utilize. I’m a big supporter of the Open Web, for many reasons, but one of the most beneficial reasons for the Middle East is that it also gives us the edge to innovate and catch up to the rest of the world, without going through the process of reinventing the wheel. Sessions like these are important, but it will also take a genuine paradigm shift, from our traditional propriety way of thinking into a more open, transparent mode where knowledge accumulates more knowledge, rather than dust.

I’ll also use this opportunity to give a shameless plug to my dear friends, the band Jerasa – Vinyl Sessions. The lack of popular musicians coming to play in Amman gave rise to a very particular culture of cover bands in Jordan, that cover popular western songs and stray away from hardcore music as not to offend the authorities, and these bands usually do a bad job of covering these songs. But not Jerasa, because they’re simply that talented! They love music, and they play the music they love with the passion and dexterity that rivals any normal indie band their age, and the people just love it as well.

The band Jerasa

Between Yazan Haikal’s bass, Abboud Atari’s Electric Guitar, Costy Zakharia’s drums, and with Bader Ahmad, and brothers Ahmad and Abood Zou’bi, masterfully juggling guitar, keyboards, and vocals, they mesmerized the crowd at Mohtaraf Remal this Friday with masterful renditions of songs by the likes of Pink Floyd, Muse, Radiohead, and Coldplay.

Now, things to look forward to this week, tomorrow is the start of the Karama Human Rights Film Festival, touted by the organisers as the first of it’s kind in Jordan. I think it’s interesting, and I hope people actually attend, and I hope it gets the people discussing the issues. And on a more geeky note, don’t miss the next Amman Tech Tuesday this week on Telecommunications at the King Hussien Business Park, which promises to be a big event with some of the biggest names in the Arab Telecom world presenting how things go in the Telecom world to geeks like me and you!

This is Tarakiyee signing out, till our paths cross again.

Timeless Fun: Backgammon

I haven’t had the urge to update my blog recently, so here’s a small update on what I like to do when I don’t feel like doing anything. I remember this one time, I was talking to this old man, and he expressed his surprise at seeing two girls play blackgammon. Backgammon was and still is, a really popular game for old-timers in Amman’s old cafes, and I can safely say it’s featuring a surge back between young people now, both male and female.

Now, these two girls are my friends, and we regularly play it, and we all learned it from our parents and grandparents. I think it’s one of these games that skips a generation each time, I can’t see my children playing it, but I’ll definitely teach it to my grandchildren. It’s a fun, timeless game that can waste many hours while we talk about whatever on our minds. We all need some mindless activity every once and a while to keep our minds of what’s worrying us, and Backgammon beats Facebook any day. To end this, I’ll quote my friend, “Manzari manzar wa7de endha emte7an?”

People playing Backgammon