It’s been said 47Soul is a band that is “rooted in the Palestinian Diaspora”. Surely “uprooted” would be more to the point.
47Soul, which consists of Tareq Abu Kwaik, Ramzy Suleiman and Walaa Sbait lives in exile in London and thrives off of a global network of dispossessed Palestinians and their sympathizers.
The sound is a new one, blending traditional Levantine wedding music – ie. dabke – with western dancefloor modes, to constitute a new indie pop-flavored style – what the band has dubbed, “Shamstep”, in essence electronic music that uses Arabic scales. Their stated aim simply put: to get people dancing.
But is there anything less conducive to dance floor euphoria than the intractable Middle East situation? A definite buzz-kill it would seem. However as Balkan Gypsy music shows, dance and sadness can often go hand in hand. In fact sadness makes the experience of dance all the more profound, leading potentially to a catharsis as strong as that of intoxication.
47Soul has a heavy message, and it weighs upon the listener more so in this latest album than in the first one, as even the potentially danceable numbers are cut through with the melancholy of an impossibly intransigent situation. There are fewer numbers that give over to joyful dabke dancing here, and more that are conducive to gloomy rumination, kicking against the pricks of the Middle East reality.