Palestinian singers winning hearts and minds

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Mohammed Assaf, the 28-year-old singer, won the second series of “Arab Idol” in 2013. (Courtesy Flash Entertainment)
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The rapper Tamer Nafar formed the Palestinian group Dam with his younger brother Suhell, and Mahmoud Jreri. (AFP)
Updated 17 April 2018
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Palestinian singers winning hearts and minds

  • The group’s lyrics are influenced by the conflict with Israel
  • Dam’s music fuses Middle Eastern rhythms and melodies with urban hip-hop

LONDON: Mohammed Assaf, the 28-year-old singer, won the second series of “Arab Idol” in 2013, with one judge nicknaming him “Asaroukh” (“The Rocket”).
But the singer almost missed his chance at famer because of problems getting from Gaza to Egypt. Arriving too late to register, he began singing to the waiting contestants.
On hearing Assaf, contestant Ramadan Au Nahel, also a Palestinian, gave him his audition number, saying: “I know I won’t reach the finals, but you will.”

Tamer Nafar
The rapper formed the Palestinian group Dam with his younger brother Suhell, and Mahmoud Jreri.
The three men grew up in Lod, 20 kilometers from Jerusalem.
Dam’s music fuses Middle Eastern rhythms and melodies with urban hip-hop.
 


‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ blurs the line between good and bad

A still from the kid-friendly film. (Sony Pictures Animation)
Updated 23 July 2018
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‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ blurs the line between good and bad

  • The characters are sharply etched out, with pointed features and wonderful detail

CHENNAI: Nothing can be compared to Japanese animation, especially the works of cinematic art created by Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke,” “The Wind Rises”), which is not just sharply political but also intensely emotional. In comparison, American animated films may seem somewhat plastic, though the Hotel Transylvania franchise has risen above the mundane. The latest installment,” Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation,” from director Genndy Tartakovsky, depicts a battle between good and evil.
The plot sees Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler), his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), her human husband Johnny (Andy Samberg) and the entire monster entourage go on a cruise vacation to Atlantis. On board, widowed and lonely Dracula falls head over heels in love with the director of the event, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn). However — plot twist! — she is a human being and several centuries younger. Even worse, she is the granddaughter of the legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan), whose bitter enmity with Dracula dates back to the 1800s. It is liberally interspersed with humor, which comes courtesy of the Mummy, the Invisible Man and the giant puppy that Dracula's grandson smuggles aboard the ship.
Tartakovsky, who helmed all three editions of the franchise, undoubtedly employed a brilliant set of animators — the characters are sharply etched out, with pointed features and wonderful detail. The wit flows at a breathless pace, but what is lacking is a certain novelty, which one expects in an ongoing series.
One plus point is that parents will not find themselves wanting for entertainment. Dracula's romance with Ericka may be lost on children, but it will keep the adults entertained. At 97 minutes long, however, the film could have been far more fantastic.