Taking a leap of faith from desktop to rooftop. Tah Riq Amawi in Bali.
Musician and poet. Combining everything from traditional flamenco guitar and original songs to tongue twister like– rapidly delivered lyrical streams, beat boxing, live electronic sampling, and live looping using a range of cutting edge equipment; Tah Riq has now brought his show teetering over the bleeding edge of live performance.
Sanaa, Yemen - Yemeni entrepreneur Taysir al-Sharki reaches into her self-designed purse embellished in sitara fabric - a pattern usually reserved for old women’s dresses - to pull out her ringing mobile phone.
But an old woman she is not. The 42-year-old Sharki greets the caller while pouring tea for the dozen artists gathered in her vast new art gallery in Yemen’s dusty capital.
The excited chatter of the young artists gathered in the Raufa Hassan Gallery stops as they see Sharki’s face drop. A Yemeni security official is the caller. Rumours have been swirling that her art gallery is actually an illicit nightclub, they say. Officers will be paying her a visit soon.
Meanwhile, Omr Sa’d - the harmonica player for 3 Meters Away - the activist band in residence at the gallery - notices his own phone ringing. Sa’d already knows the call is bad news: the unknown number is a member of his large, conservative family who is threatening his life for playing rock music.
I will not dance to your war drum.
I will not lend my soul nor my bones to your war drum.
I will not dance to that beating.
I know that beat.
It is lifeless.
I know intimately that skin you are hitting.
It was alive once, hunted, stolen, stretched.
I will not dance to your drummed up war.
I will not pop, spin, break for you.
I will not hate for you or even hate you.
I will not kill for you.
Especially I will not die for you.
I will not mourn the dead with murder nor suicide.
I will not side with you or dance to bombs because everyone is dancing.
Everyone can be wrong.
Life is a right, not collateral or casual.
I will not forget where I come from.
I will craft my own drum.
Gather my beloved near, and our chanting will be dancing.
Our humming will be drumming.
I will not be played.
I will not lend my name nor my rhythm to your beat.
I will dance and resist and dance and persist and dance.
This heartbeat is louder than death.
Your war drum ain’t louder than this breath.