Boney M in Ramallah. Sweet music
Photo: MCT

Ra Ra Ramallah booms to Boney M

Palestinians, Israelis boogey ecstatically together in West Bank as 70s band belts out its nostalgic disco tunes at open-air concert

Palestinians and Israelis boogeyed ecstatically together in the West Bank late into the night as 70s band Boney M belted out its nostalgic disco tunes at an open-air concert.


Tuesday's event in Ramallah, headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, was part of a six-day music and dance festival taking part across the West Bank to highlight water shortages in the territory.


Boney M, which won global fame with their catchy disco numbers, drew a crowd of several hundred, among them Israeli citizens who traveled to the West Bank in defiance of an official ban.

Still going strong (Photo: AFP)


The Jamaican band that was founded in Germany in the mid-70s offered a repertoire of songs like "Daddy Cool", "Belfast", "Ma Baker" and the iconic "Rasputin" – many of which have won gold and platinum discs.


For many Palestinians, old and young alike, who attended the concert, the chorus – Ra Ra Rasputin – was sweet music that sounded more like "Ra Ra Ramallah."


The band was feted with thunderous applause when Maizie Williams, a founding member of the band, shouted: "We love Palestine. We love you all, people of Palestine."


'Rivers of Babylon' kept out

The crowd cried out for more when the band played "Daddy Cool", one of their first hits that shot them into disco fame in the mid-70s and kept them at the top of the charts into the mid-1980s.


But another hit – "By the Rivers of Babylon" – was discreetly kept out of the Ramallah repertoire, possibly for politically correct reasons since the lyrics include: "Yeah, we wept, when we remembered Zion."


Nearly 15 years after they broke up, Boney M is still going strong. Individual band members have used the name of the disco group as a franchise and have been holding concerts around the world.

'We love Palestine' (Photo: AFP)


Williams brought the group to Ramallah on Tuesday to perform as part of the 12th annual Palestine International Festival of Dance and Music.


Organizers hope to attract 13,000 visitors during the festival which runs until Friday with performances in five West Bank cities as well as in the Israeli port of Haifa.


The lineup includes a concert by French-Algerian Rai singer Faudel on Wednesday as well as performances by the Ballet Espanol de Murcia, Jordanian composer Tareq al-Nasser and his Rum Group, a Georgian dance theatre troupe as well as many local music and dance groups.


British-born Palestinian singer Shadia Mansour, popularly known as "the First Lady of Arabic Hip Hop," opened the festival on Sunday.


The event is being held to highlight the problems faced by Palestinians in accessing water resources in the West Bank, where Israel controls shared resources.


Rights groups say the water supplied by Israel falls short of Palestinian needs, but also point out that the Palestinians have failed to set up the infrastructure and institutions needed in the water sector.



פרסום ראשון: 07.22.10, 08:22
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