On the electro scene, artists from the Middle East are still rare. And yet, despite discontent, her arrest by the West Bank authorities last winter and the difficulty of practising her passion in her country, Sama Abdulhadi, crowned queen of Palestinian techno, has not given up on her dreams: to throw herself wholeheartedly into music and to make the whole world discover her talent. Here is a look at the musical history of Palestine’s first DJ.
Music as a vocation
Aged 31 and originally from Ramallah, Palestine, Sama Abdulhadi is one of the first in the Middle East to introduce Palestinians to the musical worlds of techno and electro. And she has had this passion since she was 12 years old!
“You made me carry all this equipment for years, so you have to get into music” “Don’t let opportunities slip through your fingers. Take advantage of them. You’re not sure if it’ll work, but you owe it to yourself to try“… After hesitating with a career as a footballer, evolving into a career as a sound engineer and observing artists on the international scene, it is thanks to the support of her family that she will reveal her talents to the world.
Participating in the Eurockéennes, a culmination of the artist’s career
Starting out as a woman in this world was not easy for the artist. After studying in London, working in studios, on films and concerts in Egypt, Sama managed to participate in a concert in France thanks to the Palest’In & Out festival, which promotes young emerging talents from Palestine!
This was the beginning of a great career, as her music quickly made its way onto the music scene. With now eight million views on YouTube, Sama’ Abdulhadi’s Boiler Room is in the top 10 of those famous and highly respected DJ sets broadcasted on livestream.
But beyond the numbers, the comments under this video are an even better testament to the “Sama phenomenon”: “I didn’t think this kind of parties took place in Palestine”, writes one, “I didn’t know Palestinians liked techno“, adds another…
This year, the artist unveiled her new sounds at the Eurockéennes festival in Belfort, a festival dedicated to all types of synthetic music.
Thanks to her, a change in Palestinian mentalities
The artist has shaken up the codes! And many are already thanking her. Thanks to her, nightlife in Palestine has changed and there are now almost thirty DJs in the country.
Arrested and locked up for 8 days in prison for “giving a concert on an archaeological and religious site in the West Bank”, the DJ collected more than 100,000 signatures to demand her immediate release. It was at this point that the artist realised that a real community around techno, a genre that is now firmly established in the oriental mindset, had been created.
So if these last few months have been very hard for Sama, as for all the artists, everyone seems to have returned to a festive mood and it is now proven: a unity within the youth has been established to revive a world almost extinguished by the pandemic!