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‘I live in fear from Israeli airstrikes but overcome it with music’

‘I live in fear from Israeli airstrikes but overcome it with music’

Posted October. 04, 2022 07:52,   

Updated October. 04, 2022 07:52


Makimakkuk, a Palestinian female rapper and hip-hop musician, came to South Korea for the first time. “I am very excited about my first show in South Korea, but Palestine is on a high alert due to Israeli airstrikes,” she said at Incheon International Airport on Friday. Nevertheless, she performed excellently as a professional on the stage of the “DMZ Peace Train Music Festival” held in Cheorwon, Gangwon Province, on Saturday.

“Female musicians doing hip-hop and electronic music are very rare in Palestine. It’s not easy due to the conservative environment and negative perceptions surrounding them,” she said. “However, I’ve unflinchingly continued to perform on the street or in restaurants or clubs.”

She began to garner domestic and international attention in 2018. Boiler Room, a global music and performance platform, highlighted young Palestinian musicians and she was one of them. While her main residence in Ramallah, the de facto administrative capital of the country, is relatively safe, her music has a deep undertone of anxiety about Palestine, which is referred to as the ‘power keg of the Middle East.’

“Traveling overseas as a Palestinian is restricted, which makes performing overseas quite challenging. It’s one of the reasons why our music is not well known in other countries. Palestinian music has a unique identity,” the musician added. “As many things are considered taboos, straightforward expressions are often forbidden. As a result, lyrics tend to be ambiguous or metaphorical. That’s the appeal of ‘Ramallah hip-hop.’”

Makimakkuk, interested in South Korean culture since her early 20s, was highly excited about her trip to the country. “Ever since I watched director Park Chan-wook’s ‘Oldboy,’ I have been interested in South Korea. I have a list of places I want to visit during the week I stay here,” she said. “I was worried that the Israeli government might restrict the trip but was so relieved to be able to come here,” she said with a smile.

Jae-Hee Kim jetti@donga.com