Hip-hop group brings Israeli music to Canopy Club

By Kathy Khazanova

Instead of treating his significant other to a fancy dinner for Valentine’s Day, Yonatan Lapid and his girlfriend will be rocking out at the Canopy Club, 708 S. Goodwin Ave., watching a performance by Hadag Nachash, a hip-hop group from Israel.

“Their songs are about Israel and the current situation in Israel,” said Lapid, Israel program coordinator of Hillel.

Instead of portraying extremist views in their songs, “(Hadag Nachash) expresses the frustration felt by the common everyday person about the conflict,” said Joel Schwitzer, executive director of Hillel.

Hadag Nachash is a seven-man band whose music is a mix of hip-hop, funk, jazz, electro and rock.

“The closest equivalent in America is the Roots,” said Eli Wald, senior in LAS and the self-proclaimed biggest fan of Hadag Nachash. Hadag Nachash sings in Hebrew, but coordinators of this concert hope to attract students who don’t speak Hebrew and those who do not necessarily identify with Israel or Judaism.

“If, at the end of the day, we’ve only attracted 500 Jewish students, that’s nice,” Schwitzer said.

“But for some, the conflict is the only context of Israel they have. By bringing Israeli music to the campus, we hope to make Israel more real for both Jewish and non-Jewish students,” Schwitzer said.

Aliza Goodman, Jewish student life coordinator for Hillel, plans to play some Hadag Nachash music on the Quad.

“Someone will hear the beat and come up and say this is awesome, and we’ll tell them about the concert,” Goodman said.

“I think the really cool thing about Hadag Nachash is, in addition to having good lyrics, they’re really good musicians,” Wald said. “You can come and listen to it and not understand a word they’re saying but still really enjoy yourself and have a really good musical experience. Good music doesn’t have any cultural boundaries, regardless of whether you agree with the lyrics or the political message behind it.”

Although some songs by Hadag Nachash have a political message regarding the conflict in the Middle East, the group also “sings about the everyday conflicts in Israel,” Lapid said.

Hadag Nachash has a song called “Shirat HaSticker,” also known as “The Sticker Song,” in which they simply list all the different kinds of bumper stickers that could be found in Israel. It is a custom in Israel to put bumper stickers on one’s car for every opinion he or she has, Lapid said.

By showing all the different conflicts that exist in Israel, Hadag Nachash said they hope to reflect Israeli society through their songs and “show the Israeli society to the common hip-hop fan,” Lapid said.