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Music, life skills fuse in 2-month hip-hop training programme

By Johanna Montanari - Oct 03,2019 - Last updated at Oct 04,2019

‘Hip-hop for Youth’ marked the end of a two-month training (Photo courtesy of Jorean Torsten Daenhardt)

AMMAN — The Civil Peace Programme (CPS) organised an event titled “Hip-hop for Youth” in Amman in cooperation with the German embassy on Tuesday.

The event marked the CPS’s celebration of the end of a two-month programme in which it worked with five youth from across Jordan, teaching them hip-hop on the weekends.

The five young people presented the final outcome of the programme, which consisted of four music tracks that spoke about “internal conflict, hopes and dreams, social change and their journey as a group”, according to the organisers.

The event took place at the CPS’s partner venue, C-HUB, a partner of I-Dare for Sustainable Development.

“Our approach is different from other NGOs. We work more on a community level,” said Hamzah Barhamieh, the communication officer of CPS in Jordan, in an interview with The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

“Our main focus is to build capacities. We believe in culture and art as tools to communicate with youth,” he noted, adding: “We have been working with hip-hop for almost five years now.”

The five young people, one girl and four boys, were chosen by CPS out of over thirty applicants and had no hip-hop skills prior to the programme, said Barhamieh. For these five Jordanians, it was their first time on stage.

They not only worked on their rapping skills, but also on “soft life skills, like respecting each other and cleaning up after themselves”, according to Barhamieh.

The event also included a concert by SawaSawa SoundSystem, a part of Civil Peace Service Palestine, a CPS sister programme. SawaSawa is a network of Palestinian organisations that promotes a unified Palestinian identity to overcome social fragmentation, according to the organisers.

“We contacted our sister programme in Palestine and proposed our idea: How about we get another German artist, we get you guys here to Jordan, let’s meet each other, have some fun and then create some music together,” Barhamieh recounted. 

Four young Palestinian men from SawaSawa then participated in a workshop that took place three days before the concert. The Jordanian and Palestinian youth then worked together to “design a performance that expresses the voices of the youth from both of the countries”, according to the organisers.

Curse, a German hip-hop artist, also joined the workshop and collaborated with the Jordanians and Palestinians, and performed at the event.

The project is funded by the German Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation. The event prepared the group for their upcoming performance at the 60th anniversary of German-Jordanian cooperation, Barhamieh said.

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