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March 8, 2011 2:44 pm

Hadag Nahash Lights the Lights, Hits the Boards at Baruch

avatar by Maxine Dovere

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Hadag Nahash, came to Manhattan bringing with it music and light, power and politics. The Israeli hip hop/funk band had its audience dancing in the aisles from virtually minute one of its Sunday night performance at Baruch College. The young – and young at heart – participants (this was no “spectator” event) were enthusiastic and involved.  From the blue and white balloons floating between seats and stage to the involvement of musicians and masses, it was an evening of great fun and good music

Its name literally translates as “the Snakefish;” its music mixes Western pop with Middle Eastern influences in style said to “create a sound tapestry containing influences from funk and world music.”  Hadag Nahash, the band, uses music to make strong political statements through songs – and to get everyone on his or her feet, dancing through the night.

With six successful albums to date, the group creates songs that have been called “audacious and controversial,” with lyrics calling for peace, tolerance and equality, and including political and social protest combined with its unique musical blend.  Led by vocalist and composer Shaanan Streett and DJ Guy Mar, the band has held a place on the Israeli hip-hop scene for more than fifteen years. It was named “Band of the Year” by Galgalatz and Reshet Gimel, Israel’s leading popular radio stations.

At a news conference just prior to the Sunday concert at which he shared the dais with Minister Yuli Edelstein, Consul General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni, and American Jewish leaders Malcolm Hoenlein and Michael Miller, Streett clearly stated that he and his band performed not as representatives of the government of Israel but as Israelis, individuals and musicians, conveying their own message through their own music.

Israeli hip-hop band Hadag Nahash performs in front of hundreds of students and community members at Baruch College's Mason Hall March 6 at the kickoff of JCRC-NY's Celebrate Israel Project. Photo: Shahar Azran.

Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein leans in to speak with Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Photo: Shahar Azran.

Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein speaks to the crowd at Baruch College's Mason Hall about strategies for promoting Israel on campus. Photo: Shahar Azran.

Minister Yuli Edelstein is spearheading an agressive hasbara (public relations) campaign to bolster the image of Israel. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

Arab Israeli Raneen Khoury (L) and Ethiopian born Hadas Yossef (R) join smiles and sweatshirts to carry the message: I AM...THE FACE OF ISRAEL". Photo: Maxine Dovere.

A rainbow of Israeli young professionals carried the message of individuality and diversity to America's East Coast colleges. From Left to Right, the New York delegation: Irit Magal, Raneen Khoury, Nadav Peretz, Hadas Yossef, and Ariel HaLevi. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

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