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Kurdish club scene booming as Baghdad bans alcohol - Yahoo! News

Kurdish club scene booming as Baghdad bans alcohol - Yahoo! News: "SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq – Dozens of men gathered in the smoky little club to watch five scantily clad dancers sway their hips to the beat of a drum and the grooves of an electric piano. Once a common sight in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, the scene can now only be found in the more liberal Kurdish north.

Dozens of dance halls and clubs have opened across the Kurdish region during the past months, capitalizing on a crackdown against alcohol in Baghdad, where officials in November began closing clubs serving booze and banned alcohol sales at stores.

That prompted the capital's nightlife — its musicians, dancers and impresarios, and the patrons who flock to them — to migrate north.

'Baghdad has become a dead city where there is no more amusement, no drinks and no music. They have dressed the capital in religious clothes,' said Hameed Saleh, a Baghdad Academy of Music graduate who plays the drums and oud, the Arabic forerunner to the lute, at Kurdonia Club. 'Now I play music in Sulaimaniyah and my life is secure.'

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