London Design Biennale - 4-12 September at Somerset House
47Soul at Jazz Cafe: 47Soul is the electro Arabic dabke (shamstep) band formed in Amman Jordan in 2013 that rapidly amassed fans in the Arab world and Europe by blasting the electric Arabic Dabke sound with analog synthesizers, hypnotic guitar lines, and shattering verses from the four singers. Every 47Soul show ends in relentless dance and trance from all parties involved. Their lyrics, mixing Arabic and English, call for celebration and freedom in the struggle for equality, inside Bilad Al Sham and throughout the world.
El Far3i & Z The People: This gig is a great place to start if you think Arabic Acoustic Folk-Rap and Electronic Arab Soul might be your thing, as it brings together two of the co-founders of 47Soul. El Far3i's music, on the one hand, can be described as a mixture of Hip Hop, Arabic Folk and Acoustic Rap and Arabic poetry that adapts its lyrics to fit current social and political conditions. He is a Palestinian songwriter, percussionist and vocalist based in London and founder of Arabic Folk and Acoustic Rap solo act (El Far3i) and Hip-Hop Mc Far3 El Madakhil.
47Soul Balfron Promise Launch: Blasting and dancing their way through the Arabic music scene, the four members of the 47Soul have electrically reshaped the boundaries of contemporary underground music. Their infectious take on dabke, with piercing synthesisers, ‘Mijwez’ melodies, dance drums and resonating vocals has rapidly amassed them fans around the world. The product of a three year residency in London, the 'Balfron Promise' is their first full-length album and an elaboration on the highly successful debut EP the 'Sham Step'.
47Soul + Cairo Liberation Front: Happening as a segment in the six-day 'Convergence Festival', this exhilarating bill will bring 47Soul and the Cairo Liberation Front in the determined spirit of the Arab Spring, as they both lead the way in producing new sounds drawing on diverse Arabic influences.
'Encampment by Good Chance': Part of the 'Festival of Love' at the Southbank Centre, 'Encampment by Good Chance' is a wonderful programme of art, discussion and hope for the future, inspired by the temporary theatre of hope that was set up at the Calais 'Jungle' refugee camp; providing a space of welcome and expression and housing a daily programme of theatre, art, music, discussion and workshops, with special guests and performances.
47 Soul 'The Gathering': Drawing on their Palestinian roots, 47Soul make music that crosses borders and that is a celebration of movement featuring the bass-heavy dance sounds, virtousic instrumentalism and vocal improvisation and rap.
47Soul at London Remixed Festival: 47Soul is the electro-mijwez, shamstep and choubi band with its members rooted in Bilad Al-Sham.
If I had the resources, I imagine that I would give out real gold medals for the entries below. I've picked either one or two at the maximum - as I honestly couldn't decide! - based on what I attended, truly enjoyed and what made me feel engaged or challenged as a viewer, reader, attendee, listener, etc.
Without further ado, Nahla Ink's 2015 Arab-London Arts + Culture Gongs Go To:
WOMAD Festival 2015: The 'World of Music, Arts and Dance' (WOMAD) is an international arts festival that takes place in Charlton Park, Wiltshire with the central aim to celebrate the world's many forms of music, arts and dance over three days. Apart from experiencing the hottest musicians and inspiring new talent from around the world there is always much more to discover.