dinsdag 5 mei 2009

First impressions

(Monday, May 4)
It's the day after the Music for Gaza event we had been planning for 2 months. The energy whilst preparing, both on as well as offline, was one of positive enthusiasm, also evoked by the feedback found in Facebook on international level.
First impressions.

We had a few setbacks in the last hours before Sunday... the dancers had to cancel due to injuries and the DJ had to rush to a hospital out in the west because his girlfriend was involved in a serious accident. Imagine how he tried to find someone else who could replace him and for him to feel bad for not being able to make Music for Gaza.. all this on his way to the hospital... A fine example of someone who faced grief in his personal life and was still worried about the commitment he made to our event and as such, the Palestinian children in Gaza. Commendable! We wish them well!

We had everything ready and arranged. There were exquisite Arabic cookies, Gaza-related cultural documentaries in the cafe via the beamer, a panel discussion with interesting guests, a huge collection of CD's and LP's and 8 bands for the benefit concert.

But there weren't many people, despite newspaper articles, press releases, a radio-interview and links on various websites.

It was a shame for the bands, who all gave it their very best when performing, even if there weren't that many in the audience. It's their professional attitude that deserves respect for sure! For the discussion panel likewise, Max Arian (Jewish), Aissa Meziani (muslem), Merlijn Twaalfhoven and Mohammed Benzakour (muslem). They engaged in a lively and interesting conversation about Gaza, music, politics, hope and reality, even for just a dozen of spectators in the audience. Experience was exchanged, new valuable contacts were made and as one of the bands pointed out later that day, "it's the quality of the audience, not the quantity that counts."

The CD-exchange fair continued in its own rhythm all day and became a playground for those who could browse comfortably without anyone breathing down their neck looking for something special and wanting the same disc. A bandmember of The Mondays, the jazz group that opened the benefit concert, found a dozen or so CD's of jazz musicians who were his teachers at various conservatoria in the Netherlands. He was very thrilled to have found these albums!

A guy who runs a second hand CD shop happened to stroll by, saw the sign out front and asked what it was all about. CD fair? He had a field day and left with about 150 CD's, feeling very very lucky. He'll stay in touch for future references and might become a partner or someone we can work with.

Music for Gaza also turned into a musicians playing for musicians gig, and people had fun anyhow.

There was food, snacks and for the production manager of the facility a smoothly-run event.

If we think in perspectives of different levels, we can still be happy with what we achieved with this 4th Music for Gaza event. We didn't score a huge audience or thousands of euros, but those who attended donated about 500 euros for the Palestinian children and music projects.

Gaza is not as high-profiled in the media anymore as it was in January, so people in general have turned to their latest flavour or disaster of the month. It may sound harsh, but it's the simple truth. One of the visitors didn't hesitate to pay the entrance fee, but when I asked him to sign a petition to break down the wall, or to leave his emailaddress for newsletters, he said it was too much trouble reading all that serious stuff and that he was fine with it the way it was.
To pay an entrance fee for a good cause, without wanting to learn more was enough.

Mohammed Benzakour, a Dutch-Moroccan (Berber) publicist-columnist-writer, pointed out why he distanced himself from engaging in national mediawide discussions about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. (He's been the only one who spoke up openly in January asking what the Netherlands were going to do about Israel's conduct and policy).

Because the current political climate in the Netherlands is not one that is interested in learning about the humanitarian aspects and suffering of the Palestinian people. They insist on supporting Israel, no matter what. Politicians are not prepared to make a stand or form an honest opinion, so why bother to offer one as a publicist if those who can change it in formalities, don't?

So yes, it's up to grassroots organizations and personal endeavours to help Palestine recover from its wounds and provide individual enlightenment of the mind, soul and spirit where possible. Music and culture can bring relief to individuals and groups, even though it may not free the Palestinians as a people. But it can strengthen their energy to persevere with endurance and tenacity as they have proven to be able to do already.

So, we will persevere with them. The journey of Music for Gaza continues. There will be a 5th event, so stay tuned :-)

woensdag 29 april 2009

Sunday evening: Documentary The Game

A few more days to go before the 4th edition of Music for Gaza will welcome you with open arms! We're still busy arranging all kinds of "things" so we can offer our audience a day with various interesting options. So far we have the CD-exchange, a dance workshop, music, a panel discussion and more music.

For those who'd like to stay in the cafe and enjoy some quiet time, we can now offer you something very special. It's the documentary of Tinus Kramer about a theatre group from Gaza, Theatre Day Productions.

Highly recommended!

zondag 26 april 2009

The NEW Gaza Music School!

Some very good news. The Gaza Music School has reopened. Pictures are from www.qattanfoundation.org

donderdag 23 april 2009

Peace Museum: travelling exhibition Forgiveness Project

The Netherlands has a Peace Museum (Vredesmuseum). It's a collection of travelling exhibitions about violence, grief, peace and forgiveness. An exhibition of the Forgiveness Project, in a Dutch translation, is planned during the month of May in Geleen, a southern town in the Netherlands, not far from where we organize our Music for Gaza event in Heerlen. Especially the stories of Ghazi Briegeith and Rami Elhanan, a Palestinian and Israeli, is of interest in the light of our project. As well is the story of Robi Damelin, an Israeli mother who lost her son.

This exhibition is initiated by the Dekenaat Schinnen-Geleen.

28 april t/m 3 mei 2009, Geleen:
Forgive - Reconcile
Location: Augustinus Church
Info: 0031(0)46-474.55.67 (Frans Peters)

5 t/m 10 mei 2009, Oud-Geleen:
Location: Marcus Petrus Church

12 t/m 17 mei 2009, Geleen:
Location: Chr. Kon./Verrijzenis Church

19 t/m 24 mei 2009, Lindenheuvel:
Location: OLV. V. Alt. DB Church

26 t/m 31 mei 2009, Geleen:
Location: St. Odilia

woensdag 22 april 2009

A little something for our visitors

Every visitor gets a free ticket and a chance to win one of the prizes above. We're still in the process of collecting some items, but Maxwell in Brunssum has already agreed to deliver some articles for our Music for Gaza lottery. More news to follow!

zondag 19 april 2009

Our programme for May 3

4th CD-exchange and benefitconcert Music for Gaza
May 3 2009

Popstage De Nieuwe Nor
Pancratiusstraat 30
6211 KC Heerlen

Entrance is FREE with 10 CD’s, DVD’s of LP’s
2 euro with 5 CD’s en 4 euro without CD’s

+++We start at 12.00 hrs+++

13:30 - 15.00 hrs
•FREE Dance workshop with Mariam Er-Rabhi
•Performance Future Vibes Dance

Panel discussion in the café: 15.00 tot 16.30 hrs
•Moderator: Max Arian
•Panel: Mohammed Benzakour, Aissa Meziani, Merlijn Twaalfhoven and others

Benefietconcert 17:00 – 01.00 hrs
•DJ Noisebag & friends
•The Mondays
•Offroad•Black Mantis•Soundmaze
•Exit 31•Crimson Aces

•Heerlen Mondiaal•Vredesburo Heerlen
•Erwin Musper & Yeayeayeah Records, Studio the Bamboo Room•Soundmaze•Simply Dutch Recordings
•wWv Reschlo•SP Heerlen•Dagblad de Limburger.


maandag 30 maart 2009

Where are we now?

A lot has happened last week. We'll try to summarize the best we can! First an important message, or rather, request. A while ago, Merlijn Twaalfhoven was interviewed for Mambapoint TV. He's now in the running for a cheque of 500 euro for his projects. This also includes Music for Gaza! Please click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page and tick the box next to his name so he has a chance to win 500 euro...

Ten sponsors for De Nieuwe Nor!

We're very pleased to announce our search for ten sponsors has come to an end. SP Heerlen (socialist party, alderman and city council members) graciously signed up for the last two sponsor shares while another benefactor, who likes to remain anonymous, had already signed up as sponsor number eight. Heerlen Mondiaal, Vredesburo Heerlen, Simply Dutch Recordings, Erwin Musper, Dagblad de Limburger, Soundmaze, WWV Reschlo, ????? en SP Heerlen, many thanks for your participation and commitment to this cause!

Erwin Musper's column in Music Maker

(click image) Erwin Musper has been living and working in the United States for quite some time now. He writes about the music business and his work in a Dutch magazine for professionals in the music industry, Music Maker. In issue no 3, now available in stores, he writes about the Music for Gaza project.

Sponsors en volunteers needed for catering!

Yes. We're not done yet. We're still eager to find sponsors and volunteers who can help us pamper the Music for Gaza visitors and guests. De Nieuwe Nor allows us to use their kitchen, so we're looking for folks who can prepare luscious hors d'oeuvres, Palestinian specialities and other culinary treats. Interested to share your expertise? Mail us at musicforgaza(AT)gmail.com

Roskilde Festival Denmark donates 1 million kroner for a Hip Hop center in Gaza

There are more countries betting on music rather than politics. Here's a wonderful initiative in Denmark: the Roskilde Festival Charity Society will donate 1 million kroner (about 135.000 euro) to establish a Hip Hop center in Gaza.

"Music, and especially hip-hop, has been an important lifeline for young people in Gaza. The music and lyrics that are expressed through hip-hop, work as a valve that helps the young express their frustrations, hopes and dreams away from the everyday life which is constantly plagued by the oppression and violation of basic human rights,’ said the festival organisers in a statement."