Modesty vs. Pop

Langsam geht die Israel-Reise zu Ende. Zwei Tage noch. Und eigentlich will ich mit meinem manischen täglichen Schreiben über diese Eindrück, die exakt ein Jahr alt sind, nur eines erreichen: Mir noch mal vor Augen führen, dass es nicht ein oder das Israel gibt. Es gibt ganz viele. Das mag banal klingen, trifft wohl auf viele oder alle Staaten zu. Aber in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem & Co habe ich es extrem tief empfunden. Es ist nicht schwer, in Israel Menschen kennenzulernen. Und dann ist Israel kein News-Stoff mehr, sondern das sind Gesichter mit ihren Geschichten dahinter.

Rinat Gutman ist die einzige religiöse Rapperin Israels. Als Frau, als orthodoxe Jüdin, als Musikerin sitzt sie zwischen allen Stühlen. Für Hardcore-Orthodoxe sollte sie nicht vor Männern singen (Modesty), angesichts der Pop-Branche will sie lieber nicht über ihre politischen Ansichten sprechen.

Religion und Pop in Israel – dazu habe ich auch ein Stück für den Deutschlandfunk produziert. Genauer für „Tag für Tag. Aus Religion und Gesellschaft“.

Israel_ Religion und Popkultur

In diesem Beitrag kommt auch Daniel Zamir zu Wort. Er ist Saxophonist und gab für uns Pop-Journalisten aus Deutschland gemeinsam mit Freunden und Kollegen ein Exklusivkonzert.

Daniel Zamir, rechts

Daniel Zamir, rechts

Im Vorfeld gab es womöglich wechselseitig Vorbehalte. Auch wenn es sich nach Klischee anhören mag, aber: Musik verbindet. Wer weiß, wozu es dient, aber hier sprachen Menschen miteinander, die nur sehr wenig verbindet: hier Pop-Journalisten, viele von ihnen frei, aus Kreuzberg und Indie-affin, dort sehr religiöse Musiker, die von sich sagen, dass nicht sie ihr Instrument spielen, sondern Gott durch sie. Das Gespräch funktionierte in großem wechselseitigen Respekt bei gleichzeitiger Anerkennung der Differenzen. Und es funktionierte teileweise auf Jiddisch. Da wurde selbst den Hartgesottensten mulmig. Ein 39jähriger ‚Ultraorthodoxer‘, wie es meist pauschalisierend heißt, fragt uns Deutsche (rund 30 bis 45 Jahre alt), ob es uns unangenehm sei, wenn er Jiddisch spreche. Jiddisch galt im frühen Israel, das stark und wehrhaft sein wollte, als verpönte Sprache der NS-Opfer. Jiddisch war nicht gewünscht. Heute sprechen einige wenige Israelis, die Hebräisch als Sprache der Bibel erst sprechen wollen, wenn der Messias gekommen sein wird, wieder dieses Jiddisch, das unsere Großeltern-Generation systematisch auszurotten versuchte. Da ergreift einen Mulm. Auch wenn Rinat Gutman von ihren Vorfahren erzählt. Sie ist damit ausgesprochen zurückhaltend, und das soll hier auch nicht ausgebreitet werden. Aber es könnte sein, dass sich unsere Vorfahren irgendwo dort begegnet sind – dort im „Lebensraum im Osten“.

Rinat Gutman, religious rapper in Jerusalem

Rinat Gutman, religious rapper in Jerusalem

Hier noch ein paar Interview-Auszüge. Rinat Gutman, 15.11.2009:

Hello, my name is Rinat: Rinat Gutman. And I am a rapper. Rapper, singer. Mostly I rap, but I sing also dancehall-style, reggae. Dancehall and rap is a good combination.

Basically I am the only religious female rapper in Israel as far as I know. I haven’t heard about anyone – at least not anyone who performs really actually, you know. So, yeah, I am the only religious one.

I grew up in a religious world my whole life. My father is a Rabbi. And my grandfather is a Rabbi. I grew up in a place where people were very strongminded about many things. They have strong opinions about many things because they are religious. And so: At some point, when I was about 20 I would say, 21, 22, yeah I did start to rebel, and I started to look for my own way, I wanted to explore. And the nonreligious world was interesting for me, because it was not available for me when I grew up. So I became nonreligious. I wasn’t religious for a few years.

Yes, I live koscher. I keep koscher. I keep Shabbat. So, all of that: Shabbat ist he seventh day of the week. We don’t drive or we don’t light fire. We don’t cook on a stove which would heat the food. We  cook advance and heat the foot. We basically don’t do something which involves lighting fire or elictricity. So, I keep kosher, I keep the Shabbat, now I am religious.

It’s hard to know 613 laws all together. So, women have different laws to do, and men have different laws. So not everybody has to do all this 613 laws basically. I don’t have to know all of them.

Mostly on Shabbat I go the Synagogue – in the evening and in the morning of Shabbat. Not always in the morning. It’s not easy to wake up early. But I try to get the atmosphere of Shabbat. There is a lot of singing in the synagogue. But during the week I don’t.

There are many different directions within judaism. Not everyone keeps it the same way. So I would describe myself as an orthodox. And I go to orthodox synagogues. To different ones. I don’t go always to the same one. But there is one here in my neighbourhood: it is called KOL RINA. There is a lot of singing there. The prayer is never quiet. There is always singing – and it’s interesting.

In Judaism women – they don’t have to pray. Because they are considered – praying is basically a way for human being to be be closer to God and to elevate himself to a higher level. So, women are considered in a higher level than men in judaism. They are considered more pure beings. So because of that they don’t have to go and pray. They don’t have to, if they want to they are welcome to do it. But it’s not like a law fort hem.

My songs – a lot of the inspiration for my songs I take from jewish tradition. There was a big Rabbi, called Nachman von Bratslav, which is in Ukraine. And this was 200 years ago. And nowadays he is very famous in Israel, because his theory or his way of keeping judaism – he has a very famous saying which is: Just being happy. Always be happy, no desperation. That’s what he is known for. And a lot of people go by him today. He is very famous. A lot of my inspiration is from his writings basically.

Also, I would like to point out, since my audience when I perform – a lot of them are Americans or from England – it could be from anywhere. But a lot of them are Americans. So I perform with an american rapper. Actually I started performing with a rapper from the UK. So, I try to combine english an hebrew, so that people could understand.

There is a very good example of a song that I just recorded in England: I was in England for a month. And I went there to record a few songs and a video clip in London. The name of the song is „Light it up“. It is talking about, the chorus goes, I say it in hebrew and than in English: (Hebrew) means: Let’s light up the city. (Hebrew) Open up our hearts. (Hebrew) Cry out to the heavens. (Hebrew) That the borders between us be vanished. So, this song basically talks about. I live in a city, I live in Jerusalem. It’s a city, you know, it’s not like Tel Aviv, which is more of a big city, but it’s still a city: Life gets sometimes very hectic, very crazy, a lot of stress, because it’s city life. So I am basically writing about how we can survive in the city and how we not let in the system which can be very tiring. And I am sure many people can relay to that in different people of the world. I am talking about not letting this system put us down.

I would not say that all of my songs are religious. I would say that even the ones that are with religious ideas do not necessarily sound religious. Because for example this song „Light up the city“ is something that anyone can relay to: jewish or not jewish, religious or not religious. That doesn’t really matter. But it is inspired from this jewish tradition. But also I have another song, that is also recorded, which talks about love.

I do not preach. I don’t go to people and say: You have to love God. Or you have to be religious. I don’t think people would like to hear it. So I would not preach to people throughout my songs. But if there is something that I believe, it would come up in my songs, not just as – I would not imply it to someone else. I just would say this is what I believe.

Before I perform I go up I am dressed as a religious girl which means: I wear skirts, not pants. Religious girls they don’t wear – it’s not acceptable to wear pants or uncovered sleeves. So I would come and wear and just dress up as I am usually dressed. So, it’s clear for people that I am religious. So I am sure that they know that I am inspired by that. I’m also using in my songs quotes from the Bible or from jewish tradition.

Most of my crowd is secular. And I also collaborate with secular people. I sing with a famous Israeli singer. We just released a reggae song together. He is a very famous secular singer. And I sing with him.

The ultraorthodox, the very religious people, they would not agree to a woman singing on stage, some of them. But it’s interesting. I actually got a Rabbi’s permission, I could say, to rap. Because a woman is not supposed to sing in front of men. But rap is basically talking. So this Rabbi said, that it is not a problem for me to rap.

Even in my family I would say there is a conflict. My family is pretty religious. They are not ultra-ultraorthodox, but they are pretty religious. They have a conflict. On one hand: I feel that they are proud of me. But on the other hand they would not approve. So, this conflict exists. So I was not attacked. But actually something did happen. Just like two weeks ago I was performing with – I just recorded a new song with this american rapper, his name is Y-Love. I rap in hebrew – and he raps in english. What happened: We were performing on stage in a religious place. He was performing there. And I just – you know – there was a Rabbi who was in charge of this whole evening. And I went up to the Rabbi and asked him: is that okay if I do some MC’ing on the mic. Is it okay when I go up to the mic? I am a rapper. And the Rabbi said: It is okay. If the singer does not care, it is fine by me. And I went up on stage and started MC’ing doing my rapper. And there were a few guys, only two guys, it bothered them, because they were religious. And they asked the Rabbi to tell me to stop. So, the Rabbi actually stopped me. So I could not continue to perform basically.

It’s a conflict again. Because a lot of jewish women, religious jewish women would not agree to that. They say, it’s not right for a woman to perform. They would say, it is okay to perform just in front of women, not in front of men as well. I have performed for a only-women-crowd, religious women. And they relayed very much to my songs. But I don’t see that crowd as my main crowd. And in a way it is important: I meet a lot of young women that tell me that it inspires them – the fact, that I am singing, that I am on stage and rapping, so yeah.

According to the jewish law, the Halacha, it is not good, okay for a woman, because it is not modest to go up on stage.

I really try to get away from politics. I might hint here and there. I do have a song where I do hint criticism about politics. I definitely hint it, but I don’t want to have a political side in my music. I think what I do is provocative enough, not in a bad way, in a good way, as a woman what I do basically could get enough problems I don’t wanna add more to it. And also I have to tell you: I come from a background also of politics, politicians in my family. My grandfather was a member of the Knesset in Israel. He was a member in the Knesset. He is a big politician. Politics is his life. And I decided it is not my life.

And also I think that politics many times just gets inbetween people. And music is, what I try to do with my music: is bring people together. And I don’t wanna divide people. If I am gonna to talk about politics I don’t think if some is a left-winger or is a right-winger cannot listen to what I am talking about. So I will not bring up that stuff, those issues.

So we are sitting now basically on my porch in my lovely home in Jerusalem. We are in Nahalot-neighbourhood. It’s one of the most wanted neighbourhoods in Nahlaot because it is like a little village inside the town. You can see many roofs. It’s not tall buildings. But what’s interesting: We can see in front of us the Knesset. We see the flag of Israel there on top of the Knesset. We see many lights, the hills of Jerusalem. And we can also see the Bridge of Strings. It’s a new bridge that was just built here in Jerusalem. It’s a very interesting structure.

This is a mixed neighbourhood. It’s a mixture of Israelis, Americans, people from France all different kinds of nationality here. It’s a mixture of religious and nonreligious – and many hippies, musicians.

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Eine Antwort zu Modesty vs. Pop

  1. Audra Farrell schreibt:

    The idea was that men would find such a sound alluring and it would distract them and lead them to think impure thoughts. For instance some hold that a woman singing into a microphone is permissible whereas others hold that even hearing a woman singing on the radio is impermissible. There has been a massive discussion on about this issue generating over 70 comments about an incident that occurred when he was last in Israel a few weeks ago and had occasion to perform with Rinat at a jam in Mayanot a Chabad run educational center.

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