47SOUL is an Elec­tro Arab­ic Dab­ke (Sham­step) band formed in Amman Jordan in 2013. The mem­bers are rooted in Bil­ad Al-Sham, span­ning the divides from Amman to the Galilee to Ramal­lah and the rest of the Palestini­an Dia­spora. This new sound of 47SOUL has rap­idly amassed fans in the Arab World and Europe by blast­ing the elec­tric Arab­ic Dab­ke sound through under­ground music scenes. 

What is the mean­ing behind the 47Soul name and the wider mean­ing behind Sham­step as a new movement?

47Soul for us is a sym­bol for free­dom of move­ment, because the dif­fer­ent cit­ies where each one of us in the band grew up weren’t divided by bor­ders and check­points up until the year 1947, which is of course one year before the Palestini­an Nakba ( the occu­pa­tion and the eth­nic cleans­ing of the biggest part of what’s now called His­tor­ic­al Palestine)  in 1948.

Sham­step is the name we gave to the sound ourselves and oth­er asso­ci­ated artists are cre­at­ing when it comes to elec­tron­ic and hip-hop music, with focus on Bil­ad Al Sham (The Levant which is the area of Palestine, Jordan, Syr­ia, Leban­on and some part of Iraq) type melod­ies and beats.

Deriv­ing from grooves that accom­pany Dab­ke ( A dance style pop­u­lar in that region ), we see Sham­step as a con­tri­bu­tion from Arab youth into the big­ger pool of pro­duc­tion styles , spe­cially roots pop, world trap and hiphop ideas asso­ci­ated with rhythm and dance move­ments. Reviv­ing the Arab­ic influ­ence from and onto some of the Afric­an and Lat­in styles.

How did the group come togeth­er from the beginning?

That’s a whole story by itself, would be hard to get into it in detail, the short answer is a man called Mo Jesus made the connection.

The long answer is we met because Arab artists — let alone all Palestini­an — do con­nect on the inter­net inside the divided lands and the dia­spora, we also star­ted as a col­lect­ive because when we first met, we were already estab­lished as individuals/parts of oth­er bands in the Arab region. Remem­ber as well that this cen­tury and the last cre­ated a lot of Arab migrants and refugees all over the world, who are part of a story. You got to always keep an eye on your scene.

We had some­thing in com­mon: we want to pro­duce fresh Arab­ic music for every­one not just for Arab people and express the cur­rent men­tal­ity of Arab youth in our own way.

As 47Soul you have carved out a unique space for yourselves, what inspired you to do this and how have you achieved it?

You can find a lot of Arab­ic samples in Arab­ic hip-hop and Arab­ic elec­tron­ica and that is great , you also find sha’abi or pop­u­lar Arab­ic music with key­boards and Dab­ke dances recor­ded live from street parties , late night clubs and wed­dings, and of course there is Arab­ic main­stream pop with the com­mer­cial for­mu­las of using dif­fer­ent trend­ing sounds and vibes for every era.  That is all there but we wanted to cre­ate a type of sound that has Arab­ic groove pat­terns elec­tron­ic­ally and to play the Arab­ic key­boards with all the quarter tones with Arab­ic drums means a lot of options , so we lim­ited the drums and melod­ies to the area we are from , Palestine /Syria  and that is still many dif­fer­ent beats that are very easy to dance to. On top of that we use all the soul , dub and rap styles in us and we use Arab­ic and Eng­lish in lyr­ics to cre­ate a bridge with our people and oth­ers in the dia­spora because migra­tion , eth­nic cleans­ing , bor­ders , apartheid and the occu­pa­tion is a big part of the story .

 What is your artist­ic pro­cess and how do you make music togeth­er as a group?

It’s not easy to have four people who are all pro­du­cers, song­writers and lyr­i­cists work on one track unless there is one pro­du­cer, in our case it is a work­shop from scratch every day, but it is also what it is. It star­ted like this and the com­mu­nic­a­tion level in the kit­chen evolved

Your music sounds like a cel­eb­ra­tion and brings togeth­er dif­fer­ent influ­ences from dif­fer­ent spaces. What is the big­ger pur­pose you hope for your music to achieve?

We have to cre­ate a bridge between our people in the home­land and our people in the dia­spora who lost their lan­guage because it’s a massive per­cent­age of people out­side of the land and that is the first step for mak­ing bridges between oth­er people  as well who had bor­ders forced on them and divided them ‚we think that Palestine and the Bil­ad Al Sham area can rep­res­ent the con­nec­tion point between Africa , Asia and the Medi­ter­ranean let alone a the unity of reli­gious iden­tit­ies that are asso­ci­ated wheth­er ancient , old or new.

Tell us about the new single “Hold Your Ground” ft. Lowkey. What was the pro­cess in mak­ing a fresh song?

It is tech­nic­ally our first offi­cial stu­dio col­lab­or­a­tion and we wanted to give thanks to London’s good people for back­ing up 47soul and to our listen­ers back home as well, so we cre­ated a track with Lowkey in mind and he did on it noth­ing less than we expec­ted. We feel blessed to be con­nec­ted with such artists and brothers.

 With the last show of the year com­ing up soon, what does 2020 look like for 47Soul?

New album on the way and more world tours … be ready for some more of the sham­step force!

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About Aisha

Aisha is a Writer and Researcher based in London. She Thanks you for reading.