Israeli Hip-Hop Lights Up Philly on Last Night of Chanukah

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Hadag Nahash got a Center City crowd up and dancing to their beat.

Members of the Israeli hip-hop band Hadag Nahash looked out at the crowd one song into their performance on the last night of Chanukah at Congregation Rodeph Shalom and decided that people sitting and listening respectfully wouldn't work. They asked the audience to stand, and for the rest of the show, fans were upright, moving to sharp Hebrew and English lyrics over thumping beats.

One of the most popular bands in Israel, Hadag Nahash has been compared to American music groups such as The Roots and Black Eyed Peas and had its music featured in Adam Sandler's 2008 film, "You Don't Mess With Zohan." They stopped in Philly for the show sponsored by the Reform congregation and PhillyIsrael and will next play two shows in Mexico before returning later this month to Israel.

The sextet performed at the front of the Reform congregation's historic sanctuary to a couple hundred people. Sha’anan Street kept the energy level high, leading much of the singing and rapping, while Guy Mar mixed turntables and samples, and Shlomi Alon, on wind instruments, and David Klems, on keyboard, delivered funky solos. Yaya Cohen Harounoff and Moshe "Atraf" Asraf maintained steady, interesting rhythms on bass and drums.

View a slideshow and a video of the performance in the multimedia section.