RELEASE: Palestine Underground
Palestine Underground is a new 25-minute documentary by Boiler Room. The film documents the thriving underground music scene in one of the most misrepresented regions on Earth.
This documentary follows a week in the life of alternative Palestinian music collectives, up-and-coming techno DJs, and innovative 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 what they refer to as “Occupied Palestine.”
Palestine Underground follows Jazar Crew, a Palestinian music and arts collective from Haifa. 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 Wahad, Bltnm, Oddz 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 supporting Palestinians artists in Israel.
Also part of the Ramallah scene is the beat-maker 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 Shabjdeed. Palestine Underground is the first documentary to have captured the collective’s tangible creative energy and camaraderie and to have translated their highly politicized, 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.
Boiler Room is an independent music platform and cultural curator, connecting club culture to the wider world, on screen and irl though parties, film and video. Founded in 2010, Boiler Room started with a webcam taped to a wall, broadcasting from a warehouse in London, opening a keyhole to the city’s underground. DIY at its finest; raw, uncut, homemade. Since then we’ve built a unique archive; featuring over 4,000 performances, by more than 5,000 artists, spanning 150 cities, enabling everyone regardless of where they live to enjoy the freedom it stands for.
With its award-winning content Boiler Room reaches more than 260+ million per month. Boiler Room has a significant and growing fan base in Latin America, key broadcast hubs in New York, London, Los Angeles and Berlin and the dedication of the world's most committed music fans, who consume shows expertly-curated by its passionate music team. Their remit is to platform music in new ways—sound on for the voices and stories of the fringes of the mainstream.
4:3 by Boiler Room is a multifaceted genre-spanning platform providing created and curated video content exploring themes of performance, identity, youth culture, anti-establishment and the underground. Platform agnostic, 4:3 is for curious minds and those connected to culture, offering an exploration of unseen films and as well as in real life experiences, an opportunity to discover the unknown. Like Boiler Room, 4:3 is rooted in physical experience; our events are multi-faceted, connecting the dots between club culture and cinema to stretch the boundaries of what a film experience can be.