“It’s fine to break the rules” – an interview with DJ Sama

In March 16 – 18, 2017, News and Noise was at Babel Med, the world music and jazz forum that took place on in Marseilles, and we spoke to Sama Abdulhadi (previously named Skywalker). Sama is the first techno DJ and producer of the Palestinian underground community. In the video interview below she’ll tell us about Berlin Techno and her ambitions. And an update of her arrest, end of 2020.

by Charlie Crooijmans

On the balcony at Hangar J1 at the harbour of Marseilles, we (a journalist for the German media and I) asked Sama about the Techno Scene in the West Bank. In Ramallah she is the only girl deejaying. Did her father agree with what she is doing? Why was her DJ-name Skywalker? Now she uses her own name DJ Sama. She loves Berlin Techno, but what about Arabic music? For a period of time she will be an artist in residence in Paris, which will help her to focus on her music, what is she planning to do in Paris? Back home, in the West Bank, she is working as a sound designer for film. It soon became clear that Sama is an independent and determined person who wants to professionalize the music and sound scene in Palestine. Beside that she is a role model for the emancipation of women in a climate of ambient traditionalism.

A few years later, she is still working as a DJ. Until she got arrested on December 27, 2020. Sama played at a private event at the Nabi Musa historical site, which is believed by many to house the tomb of the prophet Moses. She was charged for violating Article 275 of the Palestinian Penal Code, which criminalizes the “desecration” of holy sites or symbols with the intent to insult a religion. If indicted, she faces up to two years in prison. Additionally, the DJ was also charged with violating COVID-19 restrictions in the country. After the arrest, the petition calling for the immediate release of Sama Abdulhadi was circulated gathering over 100,000 supporters. The artist is currently awaiting the decision on whether the charges will be pursued. Source: Freemuse.

updated January 9, 2021