"Is it ok if I do a little dance on your desk?" asked 47SOUL singer and percussionist Walaa Sbeit on first seeing the Tiny Desk. I thought a minute, went under the desk, tightened the bolts, stuck some splints of wood under a few of the uneven legs and (feeling reassured) gave him the nod. It would be our first traditional Middle Eastern Dabke dancing atop the Tiny Desk and the first sounds of Shamstep (a kind of electronic dance music) behind it.
Shamstep is the creation of 47SOUL. At its heart is Arab roots music laced with dub, reggae and electronic dance music, including dubstep. It's positive-force music with freedom, celebration and hope for the people of the Sham region (Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria).
47SOUL's message of equality, heard here at the Tiny Desk (and on the group's current album, Balfron Promise) is meant for all the world. This is music without borders, mixing old and new, acoustic and electronic from a band formed in Amman Jordan, singing in Arabic and English. It's one big, positive and poignant party.
- "Mo Light"
- "Don't Care Where You From"
Walaa Sbeit: vocals, bass drum; Tareq Abu Kwaik: vocals, darbuka; Ramzy Suleiman: vocals, synthesiser, keyboard; Hamza Arnaout: guitar
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Bronson Arcuri, CJ Riculan, Jeremiah Rhodes; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Paul Georgoulis; Photo: Bob Boilen/NPR