With members hailing from different parts of the Levant including Palestine, Jordan, and Syria, 47Soul formed in 2013 and is working to promote a new genre of music that the group has dubbed "ShamStep." Drawing on influences from traditional regional music such as dabke, chobi and mjwiz, the band combines the regional sound with electronic influences, mixing Arabic and English lyrics to formulate an altogether unique and lively musical experience.
The "Sham" comes from Bilad al-Sham, which is the historic name for the region that incorporates parts of modern day Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria - roughly equivalent to the Levant. Recently the term has received international attention relating to ISIS, as the group included "Sham" in its name before it proclaimed a caliphate covering all of the Muslim world. 47Soul on the other hand, hopes to unite the region through music.
Having recently launched a crowdfunding campaign via Zoomaal, the band would like to raise at least $18,000 to record its first album and hopes that it can surpass this goal, hitting $24,000 or even $30,000. Reaching the second benchmark would allow it to record its album as well as a music video. Achieving $30,000 in funding will enable the band to record the album, produce the music video, fund a launch concert and also help with guerrilla marketing efforts. So far it has secured nearly $4,000 of their goal, with over 25 days left to go.
Recently featured on the BBC's Middle East Beats segment, the band members explained that they hope to release the debut album in June of this year. They also expounded on the significance behind their unique name and style.
"The area where we are from, the Arab World, is too divided with borders," band member Tareq Abu Kwaik told the BBC.
"We as a band come from places that we cannot all be in," he added explaining that as the different band members hail from Syria, occupied Palestine and Jordan, certain band members would never physically be able to visit each others' homes due to the current political tensions.
"In 1947, it was accessible to travel between our little cities," Abu Kwaik added, pointing out that the band's name draws its meaning from this date. "47Soul is saying that we still see [the region] as a whole." Continuing he said that this idea of unity can apply to the entire world, not just the politically unstable Levant region.
Originally formed in Amman, a city where all members could legally travel, the group is now based in London, meaning that they don't have to worry about politics thwarting their rehearsals. With a collective pedigree that includes bands like Autostrad (El Jehaz) and the Ministry of Dub-Key (Walaa Sbait), the band is already winning fans throughout the MENA region and in Europe, making them well-positioned to challenge international darlings like Mashrou Leila for the Western spotlight.
As for us, we can't wait to nod our heads and pull out our dabke dancing skills when the new album is released later this year.