HaDag Nachash

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The Israeli group’s name, HaDag Nahash (הדג נחש),  literally means “Snakefish” (dag=fish, nachash=snake), but it is also a Hebrew pun.  In Israel,  people who have only recently gotten their driver’s licences place a tag on their back window with the words “Nahag Chadash” (“new driver”).  The anagram “HaDag Nachash” therefore indicates the group’s ambitions,  as a voice for the youth in Israel.  HaDag Nachash are a fusion of  hip-hop (in Hebrew of course)  and other types of  modern music,  specifically dub-reggae, and electronic.  Most,  if not all of their songs have strong beats which would be easy to dance to.  Their logo is a sillhoutte of the Belgian Mannekin Pis,  except wearing a baseball cap.  Their lyrics speak about some social  injustices and problems in Israeli culture, law, and government.  I’d say their lyrics are very sharp and critical of  the state of affairs in Israel and its various governments.

In 2003, the popular Israeli hip-hop group Hadag Nahash released the CD ‘Chomer Mekomi’ (Local Stuff), which was an instant hit among the Israeli public.  However, the most famous song by far was “Shirat Hasticker” (Hebrew: שירת הסטיקר‎),  known as  “The Sticker Song” in English, written by Israeli novelist David Grossman.  This unusual collaboration of a mainstream author with a popular hip-hop group is part of the song’s intrigue, as both  Hadag Nachash and Grossman have gained respect among Israeli society.  Samuel Friedman wrote in the New York Times, “imagine the dazzling unlikeliness of  Russell  Banks having collaborated with Mos Def or Chuck D on a chart topper.

The lines in the song are all direct quotes or plays on slogans that actually appeared at some time on bumper stickers in Israel, but the unique collage of opposing political slogans juxtaposed against apolitical slogans, parodies and so forth creates an angry irony.  As such, the song is used to demonstrate a cross section of Israeli society, with almost all voices and political stripes being heard from. The music video takes advantage of this fact and features the members of the band dressed as the different sectors of society (for example: Haredim (ultra-orthodox),  Arabs, secular Jews, settlers, etc.) each singing a line from the song,  often contradicting the character singing it, for example, the Haredi man sings, “Mandatory conscription for everyone” and the suicide bomber sings “No Arabs, no terror (source: last.fm).

Album: ‘Chomer Mekomi’ (Local Stuff)
Price: $9.99
Genres: World, Music
Released: Jan 01, 2004
℗ 2004 Anana Ltd

To buy CD/listen to samples click here (iTunes)

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