November 20, 2008

Spotlight On: Hadag Nachash

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Hadag Nachash (“Snake Fish” in Hebrew) is one of Israel’s most famous hip-hop bands — and beloved the world over, by Hebrew speakers and non-Hebrew speakers alike. Sun News Editor Jasmine Marcus ’10 called up Sha’anan Streett, the band’s lead singer and songwriter, and spoke to him about their tour, politics and why even non-Hebrew speakers can “get down to the groove”.

The Sun: How’s your tour been going so far?
Sha’anan Streett: It’s been going great. Right now we’re in Los Angeles. We were in San Francisco, D.C., Ann Arbor, Michigan, New York City and we’re going to hit Cornell tomorrow!
Sun: And what are your plans for after the tour?
S.S.: We’re gonna go back to Israel and rest a little. Then we’ll start rehearsal and writing for the new album.
Sun: What’s the new album going to be like?
S.S.: Well, I don’t know. We still have to write it. Hopefully it will be have English material on it. A mix of Hebrew and English. And some Arabic. That’s the direction.
Sun: This is the first time you’ll be recording in English. Why the change?
S.S.: Well we have all these fans in the United States. We’ve had like half a dozen shows here already, and we just want to experiment in new directions. We want to do everything, you know? In addition, we have to look for new attractions.
Sun: You do have a lot of fans both in America and other countries. Why do you think they all like your music so much even if they can’t necessarily understand the words?
S.S.: Well first of all, they like the music — they can get down to the groove. It’s also a creative and modern style. And also, it’s true people don’t understand the words, but I really think the vibe and the peacefulness kind of come across even if you’re not speaking Hebrew.
Sun: You also had four songs featured in the Zohan movie this summer. Do you think that helped your popularity?
S.S.: Sort of, you know. Have you seen the movie?
Sun: Yeah, I did. It was funny.
S.S.: Well last night in Los Angeles I saw Rob Schneider, who [was] in the movie, he came to the show, and today we met him again. So we know the movie helped with our popularity.
Sun: Switching direction a little bit, I know you guys are a political band. Were you here for the election?
S.S.: No we arrived like a day after. Two days after.
Sun: What was that like?
S.S.: The only thing I can say is that we feel a lot of change in a lot of cities. We’ve been here a lot of times before, and this time, it really feels like people are hopeful and optimistic and a lot of people are excited about Obama, and we wish that people would be hopeful about politics in Israel the way they are here, because we really are not very optimistic about the politics in our country. It’s fun to see people with optimism in their eyes, and I hope it’ll all work out.
Sun: There’s also an election coming up soon in Israel. What are your thoughts on that?
S.S.: Thoughts? No, I really don’t have much to say. You know what, I really don’t see the same sense for change in Israel regardless of who gets elected. I mean we have two men running who have already been prime minister, and one lady who hasn’t been prime minister. Hopefully she’ll be better — I don’t know. But it’s nothing like here — here the people really expect change with Obama. People really took the campaign personally. In Israel, you know I do have a feeling that it’s like ‘been there, done that’ with all of these guys.
Sun: Okay, yeah. I hear that. Well I know you’re pretty busy, so I’ll let you go. Any last thoughts you have for Cornell?
S.S.: Tell everyone to come to show and have a good time with us!

Hadag Nachash will be performing in Noyes at 9 p.m. tonight. Tickets are (awesomely) free.