“Kurdish Shakira” shakes customs
Erbil (Iraq) - With her pop rhythms, her provocative and swaying hips plunging necklines, Dashni Mourad, nicknamed "Kurdish Shakira” is the new musical phenomenon that upsets conservative morals in Iraqi Kurdistan.
- Long hair and hourglass figure, the girl of 23, who has an album under her belt, began to enjoy great popularity among young people of Kurdistan, an autonomous region in northern Iraq.
"I admire Shakira, I consider a model. I listen to her songs since I was a child," said Dashner, who speaks fluent English and Dutch having grown up in the Netherlands.
Her admiration for the Colombian singer, who has Lebanese origins, is evident in his music videos and languorous choreography.
In the clip of her new songs "Hela Hupa," she dances hair blowing in a split skirt with sequins, rolls in the hay and performs hip movements that resemble Shakira.
"I am inspired from her artistically but I try to create my own movements," she says.
These are dances that create controversy in Kurdistan, a very conservative and tribal region, where "crimes of honour" are still widespread.
If young Kurds love this new artist, others are shocked by this exhibition of provocative hips movements, considering them as an affront to their culture and Islam.
"It's a strange manner of behaviour. It is not suitable for our community," said Rasul Faqiin a staff of 34. "Maybe it's because she grew up in the West. For Europeans, it’s OK, but not for us. She’s going to destroy the foundation of our community. We do not want our young people grow up like that," he adds.
Even feminist associations have taken a stand against the artist, saying she undermined the image of women.
"We are opposed to these dances and the use of the female body to attract attention. It is against our policy of defending the rights of women and their emancipation," argues Susan Aref, head of the Organization for the emancipation of women in Kurdistan.
"We do not want to empower women to liberate their bodies," she says.
Dashni rejects these criticisms and argues instead that she wants to make of her musical an instrument to the modernization of Kurdish culture. "I chose to do this because I think people, especially youth, need a new artistic style to break the chains of the past," she said.
Mourad Dashni is not unknown on the Kurdish stage. Between 2005 and 2007, she had made a name by presenting the program "Out of control" in which she questioned the Kurds living in Europe on their lifestyle.
She now presents another program "The Dashni Show," a kind of talk show where she spoke openly about issues of concern for women, including romantic relationships, a subject that remains taboo in Kurdish society.
"What is Dashni doing requires a lot of courage. No Kurdish artist had done this before. It is a revolution for the Kurdish song" ensures Hawzin Hama, a journalist for 36. "Previously, no woman dared to speak of her love for a boy or simply love. But Dashni speaks with courage," she says.
Ennaharonline/ M. O.