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24 September 2014
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April 2002
Tribal Hubble Bubble music
Tribal Hubble Bubble

Ancient rhythms and 21st century beats

Hannie Abokhamis learned age old rhythms from Bedouin tribes. He combines these with modern beats to make "desert techno".

As a child, Palestinian Hannie was thrown in jail for petty theft. There he passed his time making music before escaping to make a new life with Behouin tribes in the Sinai Desert.

How I came to this music
"I was born in Nazareth. I was in prison when I was eight-and-a-half, nine years old for stealing an apple or something. We learned to pick up the drums, to pick up instruments, to pick up everything. But it was very hard for us. All the time I thought about the hard way and the sweet way and I used to fit them to each other and sing it. I was in prison for three years and they wanted to keep me for more so I ran away.

Hannie Abokhamis

Hannie sings about "the hard way and the sweet way"

I went to the tribe and that's where I learned my music. I spent my youth in the Sinai Desert and I picked up lots of drumming beats from North Africa, East Africa, West Africa and Egyptian rhythms - Nubian music. With the tribe, I learned the rhythm of the camels, fire sounds, echos, bird sounds. Anything to do with skin is a drum. I was brought up to play bongo and tom tom which is a Moroccan drum. It's a double drum. Myself, I used to do my own instruments from plastics and tied it up to make it as a drum. My singing, it's like an instrument. If people don't understand what I'm singing, they will understand the melody and if they don't understand the melody, they will understand the rhythms. What I'm doing doesn't exist anywhere else. I call it desert techno because I carry it from the tribe to the techno."

Tribal Hubble Bubble drummer

Hands on music

Where I play
"I played with a few bands in Palestine but it collapsed because of politics then I left for Holland. In Holland I went out with a girl who was a salsa dancer and was playing with Brazalian bands and Cuban bands. I mixed my rhythms what I picked up from the tribes and I make music with it - I played Brazilian Arabia music. I've been in England for 19 years. Here I play at festivals. All the band are from Leicester. We normally have percussion and tabla, a rapper, sitar and flute and a belly dancer."

A favourite song

conga drum

Tribal rhythms

"The song we recorded is called Ya Munira - The Bride. It's an Arabic love song about a girl. I loved the girl and her family didn't agree with me to take her you see and I end up in lots of hassle. But I don't want to make trouble for her and her family so I travel to a different country and I went across the sea. I still loved the girl but I couldn't have her because I was very poor. I had to make myself worthwhile. The love was still there - it's the family refusing. But in the end we get married. It's happened to me, that's why I sing this song."

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