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Khaled Harara

Music has made me a better human being, explains Khaled Harara, rap artist from Palestine and also a student at the Academy of Music and Drama.

Now he wants to help children in refugee camps to also be able to create music. Interested in learning more? You can do just that during the University’s Global Week.

It was when Khaled Harara almost three years ago took part in the festival Rapolitics in Copenhagen that he decided to leave his native Palestine. There, rap is prohibited.

“I came in contact with ICORN, the International Cities of Refuge Network, and in consultation with the International Pen and culture management in Gothenburg, I was elected a sanctuary writer in Gothenburg. That means that I for two years have been able to be here and devote myself to my music.”

Among other things, he has studied at the music school in Angered and is now doing his first semester at the Academy of Music and Drama.
But what engages him most right now is a very special collaboration with Riksteatern, consisting of three parts.

“During my studies in Angered, I got the idea to give children and young people in conflict areas the opportunity to devote themselves to music. And now this is becoming a reality: the Riksteatern project will soon send down seventeen mini studios to Gaza; a number of musicians will join, and I’m particularly pleased that also female musicians will participate.”

In the second part of the project Khaled Harara, together with the Afghan artist Monirah Hashemi, will teach music and theater to newly arrived refugee children in Sweden.

“Music is important for everyone. We listen to music whether we are happy or sad, want to think or simply just cannot come up with anything better to do. But for refugee children music is even more important; they need to express their experiences and something meaningful to do.”

The third part of the project, which requires additional funding, involves sending down more technology and more musicians to Gaza to educate the next generation. But Khaled Harara also has another idea that he hopes to develop together with the Academy of Music and Drama and Chalmers. It is about creating mobile music studios in the form of cubes that can be assembled into larger or smaller units in refugee camps around the world.

“Refugees’ stories would in that way – by means of radio and the Internet – spread throughout the globe. Right now I am trying to make contact with architects at Chalmers who can construct these studios, then I hope to find a company that can produce them, for example Ikea. Then the cubes could be distributed in refugee camps with the help of the UN.”

Although Khaled Harara is a rapper he does not mean that everyone should devote themselves to that particular musical form.

“All sorts of music is important. But a rapper doesn’t need any special training or equipment and doesn’t have to be in any particular way. I rap in Arabic and I know I would reach more people if I rapped in English instead, so I’m trying to learn that too. But rap is like a virus, it spreads across the world and can’t be stopped.”

What will you talk about at the Global Week?
“I’ll talk about how music can break boundaries and create contact between people. I’ve grown up in a country full of oppression from all sides and could have become a really bad individual. But the music saved me, gave me a lot of friends and is now also making it possible for me to help others. So because of the music I consider myself a very lucky man.”

You can listen to Khaled Harara at Global Week on Wednesday 18 November 2015.

Interview: Eva Lundberg

Khaled Harara participates at Global Week 2015 University of Gothenburg
Page Manager: Jessica Glanzelius|Last update: 11/10/2015

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