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Jordan’s growing electronic music scene impatiently awaits end of pandemic

Jordanian DJ Yacoub Al-Hidmi, also known as Jakob or Jakes-hid, plays his music in this undated photo. (Photo: Handout from Yacoub Al-Hidmi)
Jordanian DJ Yacoub Al-Hidmi, also known as Jakob or Jakes-hid, plays his music in this undated photo. (Photo: Handout from Yacoub Al-Hidmi)
AMMAN — Once a passion for a fringe of the Jordanian society, the electronic music scene has been growing in popularity among Jordanian youth, with people in the industry saying they started to feel the difference in the beginning of 2018.اضافة اعلان


Scenes from “Ambush”, a party series/club that was formed in Amman in 2018 for the sake of playing the underground electronic music. (Photos: Handouts from Yacoub Al-Hidmi)

“If we're speaking locally, I noticed a difference since the beginning of 2018; people started to get the music more, more clubs opened, and more people of the younger generation started becoming DJs, which is cool,” 29-year-old Jordanian DJ Yacoub Al-Hidmi, also known as Jakob or Jakes-hid, told Jordan News in a recent interview.

For 26-year-old Palestinian-Jordanian DJ Ali Zidane, the secret is the community behind electronic music, which “has always been accepting and friendly to everyone.”

“It supports all sorts of people and whatever their interests are,” he said.

“I believe people found comfort in it and that’s why it started to get popular, plus the idea of turning electrical signals into actual music is fascinating,” Zidane elaborated.

Both artists agreed that “Ambush”, a party series/club that was formed in Amman in 2018 for the sake of playing the underground electronic music, is the project that “enhanced the electronic music scene” and led to it growing to its current size in Amman.

“It allowed people like me to perform and express themselves, all the love to (Etchar), the owner of ambush, and a great DJ himself — he managed to create a hub for DJs and listeners, which helped in creating this community,” Zidane said.

“Before Ambush, we couldn't play in any place in Amman, because the majority here are into commercial music or what I call ‘radio music’; people prefer whatever they hear on the radio and can sing along with,” Jakob, who has been in the industry for nine years, told Jordan News.

The artist continued to explain that electronic music was a bit “intense” for the majority here in Amman, “So ambush was for people like us who love this certain type of music, whether it's techno, house or electro,” he said.

“We started seeing some new faces every weekend, which was great. The people of Amman started picking up on electronic music and they loved it, and that inspired new talents to show what they have as well,” Jacob said.


Scenes from “Ambush”, a party series/club that was formed in Amman in 2018 for the sake of playing the underground electronic music. (Photos: Handouts from Yacoub Al-Hidmi)

The halt to the hype brought on by the pandemic is yet to end, and for Jacob and people like him, “it got really bad, because this is what we do for a living.”

“But the good thing about it is that I kind of got to take a break, I got to sit with myself, clear my mind, get new ideas of course regarding music and events, I also got to meet with great people from different countries through playing online sets on their labels or online radios you can say — that helped with the exposure that we need” he added.

Hopefully, things are now picking up again for some of these artists.

“I do play now actually, of course there are still some rules and regulations from social distancing to minimizing the (venues’) capacity, but it's better than nothing,” Jakob explained.

It’s not all going to well for others however, even though they try to stay positive and hopeful.

“Watching everything you worked so hard for just stop overnight, it is really hard,” said Zidane.

The hardest part for the DJ is that he knows that the pandemic will leave its mark forever, and things might never be the same. “The goal is to always play music for as much people as possible, but now that’s out of the picture, because everything is limited due to all the regulations. The best thing we can do is to stay positive,” he said.

“I feel like the electronic music scene will explode once this pandemic ends. Here in Amman we have better DJs than some big international names, and we can compete with anyone anywhere, I’m very hopeful,” Jacob added. 

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