What’s up Amman? – Drum Circles and CCIftar

What’s up Amman is my series of blog posts on my narrow view of the events that happen around Amman. I can’t be everywhere, but I’ll blog about the places I went to.

Yesterday, I went down to the view above Jara Cafe, the one I’d usually avoid like the plague, because it’s usually full of guys who have nothing better to do than sit and harass anybody that’s passing by, particularly the girls. But yesterday in particular, it was full of all sorts of people, and a bunch of guys playing all sorts of drums. They weren’t just any bunch of guys, but a couple of the brightest names in the local music scene,  namely Mohammad Abdullah, Tareq Abukwaik (Alfar3i, Almurraba3), Shadi Khries (Rum), Dirar Shawagfeh, and Lutfi Malhas. The best part was, they were just having fun, and everybody else enjoyed it.

It was nice also seeing that bit of public space being taken back from the chavs for a bit. Some tried to heckle, but quickly lost interest when they realised their voices were being drowned down by the drums. The rest of the people were surprisingly varied, there were old people, young people, and from all different segments, and there were a couple of foreigners. They all seemed to enjoy it, and they kept interacting the entire time with the drummers.  There were also some hecklers from Zain Jordan, who tried to sell us offers while we were watching. Least I can say, that they were not welcomed by the crowd.

On the other hand, there’s a CCIftar today in Amman, at Mohtaraf Al-Remal. I might be a bit late blogging about it, as the competition is over, and all the invitations should be all sent by now. Creative Commons for those who don’t know it, is a non-profit organisation that’s trying to make creative works more available to the people. Now, you get your regular copyrights which inhibit and harm creative works more than they protect, and not to mention that they were designed for the executives pockets, rather than the artists. CC licences offer an alternative, where sharing is encouraged, and rights are still protected. The message remains, you are still in control of your work, but you have more leeway in how you allow your fan base to interact with your works.

CCIftar is CC’s way of reaching out to the Muslim world, by hosting several Iftars (the meal Muslims break their fasts with at sundawn), and inviting creatives from all over the region to join, some will showcase their CC licensed work, and others will get to know all about CC. I’m excited, I’m a great believer in the free culture, and CC is just one of the many manifestations of this culture. I’d love to see more CC licensed work come out from the region. CCIftar Dubai already happened I think, and the impression I got from the amazing tweeps there, is that it was a great success. Hopefully today won’t be any different. I’m honoured I won a ticket to it, but I would have gone anyway.

I leave you with two questions.

Do you believe culture can win back the streets of Amman?

Do you believe art (music, books, etc.) should be free or almost-free? What does free mean to you in this case?