9 Aug 2016

Interview: 47Soul | WOMAD 2016

From the collecton Womad

47Soul Photo: Stan Alley

Trevor Reekie discusses freedom of movement across geographical borders and on the dance floor with members of 47Soul.

47Soul's music is rooted in electronica and traditional Middle Eastern dance music called Dabke which dates back to Phoenician times. It makes for an amazing fusion of technology and traditional percussion. Blessed with 4 vocalists singing in English and Arabic, 47Soul have a strong repertoire that isn’t shy of political content.

47Soul got together about four years ago and chose the name 47Soul because, as they say, it refers to an individual’s freedom of movement, not only on the dance floor, but also across geographical borders.

1947 was the final year when people were able to move freely before the Arab-Israeli War. It’s a part of the world that has endured a long and troubled history that has resulted in families being separated and mass migration. As they say: “Palestine is a very symbolic cause... it really highlights something that exists all over the planet … the relationship between the farmer and the colonial coming from far away. The owner of the land and the new world … the quote unquote oppressor also brought things, and he might have used some of your people to build it, so this relationship of them and us when they go away doesn’t work...we have to look for what’s the resolution, but we can’t do that without acknowledging properly the oppression and standing against it… being indifferent about it is the soil of the evil…. If you are indifferent in times of oppression that means you are on the side of the oppressor….”

With Songs like ‘I Don't Know Where You’re From’, 47Soul have built a loyal audience, primarily in the Middle East and Europe, mainly thru word of mouth from their incendiary live performances, that have seen them graduate to the festival circuit and WOMAD. This is their fifth WOMAD Festival, but their first time in New Zealand.

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