Palestinian Dabke in the Chicago CTA Tunnels

A stunning video of a talented duo playing and dancing to Palestinian Dabke in a CTA Tunnel has gone viral, and rightfully so. The Gozamos crew loved the video so much, we reached out to the local artists to hear more about the inspiration behind it:

“The idea for the video was very spontaneous. Hamze and I had just gotten back from a jam session with some local Chicago musicians on the south side. It was after midnight. We were hanging at my apartment in Pilsen and feeling very homesick. I happened to have a camera and a tripod on me, so we decided to go and record ourselves doing what we do almost everyday. I have been in Chicago for 5 years now and I have always wanted to film inside one of the CTA tunnels. I knew that it was going to look and sound dope considering the nature of the tunnels. So we went to the Jackson Blue Line station and recorded in the tunnel that connects the Blue Line with the Red Line. We wanted to perform something very Palestinian in a place that’s very Chicagoan. The video received so much love from people back home and the Chicago community and for that we are very grateful and excited to do more.”

About the Artists 

Ahmed Hamad is a Palestinian blooded filmmaker, organizer and Dabke Choreographer. He grew up in Beit Hanoun, a small village north of the Gaza Strip and moved to the US in 2010. He finished his Master of Fine Arts at Columbia College Chicago in the summer of 2014, and currently lives and freelances in the Chicagoland area. Having lived under Israeli military occupation, there weren’t may options other than violence, death and grief; Ahmed stomped through those times and he continues to stomp until they are heard. Cultural resistance and preservation is the motive behind all of his work.

Hamze Allaham is a Palestinian international student at DePaul University studying business. His family is originally from Beit E’tab, a small village near Jerusalem, but he lived in Dheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem. Hamze started singing and playing the Shababa since the age of 10. The Shababa is one of many traditional Palestinian instruments. Hamze uses his voice and the Shababa as means of cultural resistance. He also writes poetry and composes his own songs and recently started his own band called baeoa.