Palestine Under­ground is a new 25 minute doc­u­ment­ary by Boil­er Room. The film doc­u­ments the thriv­ing under­ground music scene in one of the most con­flic­ted regions on Earth.

This doc­u­ment­ary fol­lows a week in the life of altern­at­ive Palestini­an music col­lect­ives, up-and-com­ing techno DJs, and innov­a­tion­al hip-hop pro­du­cers and rap­pers, in the lead up to the first Boil­er Room party in Ramal­lah last June.

The film sheds light on the con­straints placed upon these Palestini­an artists, from their restric­ted free­dom of move­ment enforced by the Israeli gov­ern­ment to the mid­night party curfew imposed by the Palestini­an Author­ity, and shows that their scene is thriv­ing in spite of it.

United through the unique region­al sound they’ve cre­ated and their love for party­ing, these artists have man­aged to build a scene and have suc­ceeded in cir­cum­vent­ing the polit­ic­al sys­tem that aims to restrict them.

Palestine Under­ground is the first film to doc­u­ment the under­ground night­life cul­ture in Palestine. It offers a fresh and dif­fer­ent insight into the lives of a minor­ity of young Palestini­ans and sub­verts the West­ern media nar­rat­ive sur­round­ing Palestine.

For the last 15 years, the inter­net has been a dis­rupt­ive force allow­ing a hand­ful of Palestini­an DJs and artists in the West Bank to con­nect with Palestini­ans liv­ing in Israel (which they refer to as “Occu­pied Palestine”).

Palestine Under­ground fol­lows Jaz­ar Crew, a Palestini­an music and arts col­lect­ive from Haifa in the North of Israel. For the last ten years, they’ve been defy­ing Israeli law to travel to Palestine to play parties and col­lab­or­ate with the scene there — Saleb WahadBlt­nmOddz and Sama’ - some of Ramallah’s most tal­en­ted artists.

Act­ive mem­bers of the scene in Ramal­lah include Oddz and Sama’, two of Palestine’s most pop­u­lar techno DJs.Oddz, a mem­ber of the label Har­ara and the stream­ing music ser­vice Radio Nard, reg­u­larly defies the apartheid wall and check­points to play in Palestini­an-owned ven­ues in Israel, risk­ing three months impris­on­ment if caught.Sama’, Palestine’s first female tech-house DJ and pro­du­cer, has played a key role in build­ing a bridge with Palestini­ans artists in Israel.

Also part of the Ramal­lah scene is the beat­maker Muqata’a, who has been revered in the Arab­ic Hip Hop scene for over a dec­ade under the name Boikutt as part of the trio Ramal­lah Under­ground. He is now a mem­ber of the rap crew Saleb Wahad, whose sev­en mem­bers count Maki­makkuk, a tal­en­ted female MC, and Al Nath­er, one of the most for­ward-think­ing and pro­lif­ic trap pro­du­cer in the Middle East, aided by his MC Shab­jdeedPalestine Under­ground is the first doc­u­ment­ary to have cap­tured the collective’s tan­gible cre­at­ive energy and camarader­ie and to have trans­lated their highly politi­cised, darkly humor­ous and intric­ate lyr­ics from Arab­ic to Eng­lish.

The film gives a rare insight into the lives of these coun­ter­cul­ture act­iv­ists. For those involved, music and party­ing isn’t just hedon­ism — it’s about cul­tur­al sur­viv­al. Night­life cul­ture allows them to break down geo­pol­it­ic­al bor­ders, recon­nect with their people, and cel­eb­rate their Arab iden­tity on the dance floor.

The doc­u­ment­ary cul­min­ates on Fri­day 22 June 2018, when Boil­er Room hos­ted its first ever party in Ramal­lah, the de facto cap­it­al of the Palestini­an West Bank. Live streamed to their inter­na­tion­al audi­ence of 260+ mil­lion, the day­time out­door party hos­ted by Jaz­ar Crew and friends show­cased an under­ground music scene peace­fully react­ing against one of the toughest polit­ic­al feuds in his­tory. It stands as a his­tor­ic­al chapter in the scene’s ten-year exist­ence, an ecstat­ic cel­eb­ra­tion of its cre­ativ­ity and strength, shared glob­ally.

Palestine Under­ground is the first film cre­ated as part of Con­tem­por­ary Scenes, a new series by Boil­er Room. Con­tem­por­ary Scenes uncov­ers under­ground col­lect­ives, artists and sub­cul­tures around the world and gives them a glob­al plat­form. Watch the trail­er for Boil­er Room’s Con­tem­por­ary Scenes series here.

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.