German female jazz orchestra holds rare concert in Gaza

12:14, July 16, 2011      

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On a makeshift stage in a simple medium-sized cafe shop, an all-women German jazz orchestra performed live music in the impoverished war-torn Gaza.

It is the first time ever in the history of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip that a jazz band plays western-style music.

The concert had been unexpectedly widely attended by hundreds of Gazans who seek some solace out of the post-war traumatic conditions they have been suffering from.

The place where the concert was held only has dim lights and humid weather conditions. However, the gleeful faces of the middle- class audience showed excitement.

The colorful laser disco lights dancing around the stage added more western flavor to the concert.

Such parties are rare in Gaza which is ruled by Islamic Hamas movement that disapproves music entertainment in general.

But music-thirsty audiences have enjoyed the very special atmosphere of the party where music composed by the band leader Angelika Niescier was played professionally.

"This is really fantastic. It has been a long time since such a concert took place in Gaza and I find it great to have such a group coming to Gaza and to have such a great performance," said Suhail Tarazi, who came with his family to watch the performance.

The Gaza concert was held under the auspices of the German Goethe-Institut in cooperation with Deutsche Welle and the Heinrich Boll Foundation.

George Schumacher, director of Goethe-Institut, said basically the concert is to render the message that it is possible to have a female jazz orchestra and a female jazz concert in Gaza.

"This is the message and we are very happy to be here. We did not know if we have audience in Gaza who appreciate music like this and when you look around you will see hundreds of people who came and were happy about it."

The one-hour long performance drew a burst of applause as the orchestra began playing. For audience, such music is a healer of the war wound and alleviator of the siege pains they have been suffering on daily basis.

"Today I feel I'm a human being. I feel I'm like those who live in London and other countries in the West. This concert has given a motivation for life," said Haitham Zeideia.

The four-year long Israeli blockade on Gaza Strip has pushed more than 80 percent of the population here into poverty, causing severe psychological consequences to large portions of the population.

The all female jazz orchestra has been touring the Middle East, playing to audiences in Beirut, Amman, Iraq and Bahrain. They will also perform in the West Bank city of Beir Zait soon.

The 12-member orchestra team has crossed into the Strip through Israel's Erez checkpoint with Gaza.

The band leader said the aim of the orchestra is to bring solace and pleasure through music to the people of Gaza, who are more used to the sound of explosions.

"We are deeply honored to have this opportunity to perform here and share the music with the audience, with the people of Gaza. I' m an ambassador for music and this music is about inspiration, it' s about communication and freedom and choosing your ways," Niescier said.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
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