Sound & Vision: 47SOUL on the Arab Palestinian Diaspora and Touring the U.S.

Sound and Vision
10/03/2019
Darek Mazzone,
photo by Carlos Cruz

KEXP's Sound & Vision airs every Saturday morning from 7-9 AM PT, featuring interviews, artistry, commentary, insight, and conversation to that tell broader stories through music, and illustrate why music and art matter. You can also hear more stories in the new Sound & Vision Podcast. New episodes are out every Tuesday. Subscribe now.


47SOUL stopped by KEXP this week. The band fuses traditional Arabic dance music with electronic hip hop – they call it Sham-step. The 47 in their groups name is a reference to 1947 – the year before the Arab-Israeli War, when 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from the State of Israel. All four members of the group are a part of the Arab Palestinian Diaspora. KEXP’s Wo’Pop DJ Darek Mazzone talked to the members of 47SOUL about the group's message and being an Arabic band touring the United States.

On how four geographically isolated Palestinians formed 47SOUL:

We met because we’d known about each other from different groups. And we started to do a collective via the internet at the time – being in different cities between Palestine, Jordan and the states, we had this interest in using the sound of celebration music from our region – Palestine, Syria, Jordan – so we formed to make this sound happen. 

On the possibility of touring in more conservative parts of the United States:

In some way, the people who are on one side of the spectrum because they think they are righteous, they refuse to speak to the other side of the spectrum and the actual responsibility is to reach out to your enemy. It’s that extreme. But we know that people are [manipulated] in their emotions and their beliefs are being [manipulated] in order to think one way and to reject the other. So, we have to create a different or alternative platform of information. And if music could be a tool for that, then why not?


On how the history of their home is reflected in their music:

We come from the holy land. The holy land has been for centuries and ages a multicultural place, metropolitan. And unfortunately, colonialism came and divided us in order to teach us how to live together. After we’ve been living together for thousands of years. I think this is the mission of this band as well. We come to emphasize the culture that unfortunately colonialists tried to enforce on us. And the people of the colonialists are also [manipulated] and they don’t know the right info that the colonizers, their leaders are implementing and enforcing. 

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