Conflict & Justice

The music of Libya's uprising

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(Photo: Ben Gilbert)

By Ben Gilbert

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Dozens of songs have emerged as themes to Libya's revolution. There are traditional Arabic songs, hip hop songs and rock songs about the new found freedom in Libya's east. One particular tune, a rock ballad, was written by three young men just after Benghazi was freed from Col. Muammar Gaddafi's iron-fisted rule. Now, the song has become an English language hit of the revolution, and serves as a memorial to one of the musicians who made it.

Back in 1992 Yasmine Icanovic moved to Libya to escape the violence in his home country of Yugoslavia. He was a 19 year old Bosnian Muslim and rock music aficionado. His sister had married a Libyan army officer, so he went to live with her. Icanovic, who goes by the name Dadoo, got to Libya with few possessions beyond his Polish made guitar and a love of Dire Straits. He immediately began to make friends in the Benghazi music scene.

"I was foreigner at this time, and everybody they like me, and my music, I learned very fast Libyan Arabic. And I'm happy I'm because I'm here," Dadoo said.

Dadoo's house quickly became the epicenter of the rock music scene in Benghazi. After eight years in the country, he met 18 year old Rami Kaleh, a budding guitarist.
The language of music

"From first time we know each other, you know music it's like a connection, like a language," Dadoo said. "I loved Rami from the first day, the person and personality. And with music, he's coming more and more, even his was in my opinion, one of my family."

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