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Tanjaret Daght: Syrian youth voice their concerns through music

Syrian alternative rock band Tanjaret Daght (Pressure Cooker) use music as tool to 'document' a generation of oppressed youth, to talk politics and to revolt against the oppressive Syrian regime

Nevine Lamei, Thursday 19 Apr 2012
Tanjaret Daght
Views: 1440
Views: 1440

Singing in the Syrian dialect, Tanjaret Daght (Pressure Cooker) chose alternative rock as their musical medium as, they say, it's a unique style capable of expressing the youthful sense of gloom.

"The name Tanjaret Daght emphasises the fact that the tension experienced in the Arab world will inevitably lead to the explosion," explains Khaled Omran, 30, guitarist, singer and founder of the band.

The trio consists of Khaled Omran and Tareq Khalqi (guitar and vocals) and Dani Shokri (percussion).

Omran obtained his degree from the Higher Institute of Music in Syria in 2005 and founded the band in 2008. The band started performing in Syria before moving to Lebanon, just after the outbreak of the Syrian revolt in 2011-2012.

On 17 April, Tanjaret Daght performed at Rawabet Theatre in Cairo. The band had already played a few gigs in Cairo and Alexandria in March. The concerts are part of their tour of the region, after Egypt, Tanjaret Daght moves to Amman, Jordan.

"In Jordan, as in Egypt, there is a very dynamic movement of the young underground bands, while oriental rock is among the most popular genres," Omran comments.

The rock band does not expect to make a fortune but rather aims to perform in venues that are not necessarily familiar to their audiences. This, they explain, is how they share their passion with their listeners, to whom they present a rock that speaks against a world where already-established orders dominate.

"Contrary to jazz, the rock that we perform does not have relaxing undertones. Our music is like the sound of the bullets and strongly condemns, all oppression, all power and corrupt politics. Our music is the documentation of a generation, a testimony of an oppressed youth who searches for their freedom," the founder of the group explains.

Onstage the trio look casual in jeans, t-shirts and caps in colours borrowed from Arab flags.

Open on one side, the caps resemble their namesake, the pressure cooker.

"Our caps are specially designed to look like the pots. Such cookers have a tight valve screwed tightly on the container. This technique allows steam to reach a very high temperature and if the lid opens, everything explodes. The same is the case of our music," Omran says.

Currently residing in Lebanon, Tanjaret Daght do not see themselves returning to Syria anytime soon.

"The Syrian regime is choking freedom of speech. Moreover, there are many financial problems, due to lack of sponsors and producers, limiting the band's development. Often we are forced to finance ourselves. This is why we seek refuge elsewhere," Omran explained adding that this is why they chose to settle in Beirut.

The move was also a way to avoid Syrian military service. "How can I be asked to fight against people of my own country? Even if this means I can be jailed once back in Syria, I won't contribute in the fight against Syrian people," he comments.

In Beirut, the band met Kinda Hassan,director of the Lebanese foundation Eka3 (Ekaa meaning rhythm).

The new collaboration has let to Tanjaret Daght's performances in various Lebanese night clubs as well as the production of their CD entitled Tahtal-daght (Under pressure).

"We are influenced by politics but we do not express our views directly. We must revolt differently, improvising and using new musical ideas," Omran concludes.


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