As one metalhead in Morocco told author Mark LeVine, « We play heavy metal because our lives are heavy metal. » (…)
A professor of Middle Eastern history at UC Irvine and sometime musician, LeVine documents some vibrant, if marginalized, hard rock scenes across the region in « Heavy Metal Islam, » and comes away convinced of the « revolutionary potential of a bunch of kids. » (…)
He describes an environment where rapid globalization has shaken identity and community, places such as Morocco where the rich live more lavishly than ever and young multitudes from slums of Casablanca and elsewhere have few places to turn beside the local mosque. That gap, writes Le- Vine, is the « caldron that produces both Morocco’s metalheads and its extremists. »
Heavy metal musicians in the Islamic world are not typical careerists but musical revolutionaries putting everything at risk for little payoff beyond dreams of free expression. The price has been high, writes LeVine. Morocco initially repressed the scene, convicting 14 metal fans in 2003 as Satanists recruiting « for an international cult of devil worship. » (…)
Some struggles are internal. One young player from the Moroccan band Immortal Spirit was « wicked at soloing, » but quit the band and turned « fanatic about religion, » grew out his beard and no longer listens to music. The all-female Moroccan band Mystik Moods were screamed at by young men outraged by the idea of teenage girls playing metal. As one band member told LeVine, « It’s not easy to be a girl on the metal scene, no matter what country you’re living in. »
LeVine compares the polite, soft-spoken manner of Islamists he meets to conservative Christians back in the U.S. And the crackdown on « Marockan roll » and other scenes shares some of the historic intolerance for the devil’s music in America, where Beatles records were burned, shock-rockers arrested and songs banned from the airwaves. Young men in long hair and black T-shirts are proudly marginalized everywhere, but the stakes are far higher here.
Posted on août 7, 2008 by ibnkafka