Sumbul Ahmed talked to singer Z the People from Jordanian and Palestinian act 47Soul before their latest sell-out show on their European tour
47Soul’s are unapologetically political.
Their shamstep and dabke songs are peppered with anti-racist, anti-imperialist and anti-austerity messages.
Z described their debut album Balfron Promise as an attempt to express “the fight to secure a home in a stable environment without people far away speaking on your behalf.”
This means a fight for justice in Britain, but also against the foreign policy of the British state.
The album title alludes to the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which formalised the British state’s support for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine.
Z describes the declaration as a “criminal and irresponsible statement.”
After Donald Trump said the US would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital the issue of Palestinian freedom has been thrust to the forefront.
The group want their album to stand as a condemnation of the long-lasting military occupation of Palestine.
The lead single “Mo Light” has lines such as “making money from the passion”, which Z said is a response to Hollywood film The Passion of The Christ. “Jesus is an indigenous Palestinian character to us and he is a revolutionary to us as a Prophet.”
The album is also a response to displacement, racism and austerity in Britain.
“When we came to London it was 2012 and the Olympics were taking place,” said Z.
“We witnessed a lot of people being evicted from the area they had been living in for decades.
“We came as Palestinians and refugees, or as children of refugees, to a spot where we were witnessing people being expelled from their homes.”
The second track of the album, Moved Around, is about the way people are forced to move across the world, but are also condemned for doing so.
“The US was founded on displacing the native population to use the resources of the land,” said Z, going on to point out the continued legacy of transatlantic slavery today.
47 Soul describe their music as “diaspora music” and Z argues that the movement of displaced people and the physical outcome of imperialism.
According to him the one of the group’s aims is to stress the importance of understanding what has happened in the past to explain the present. And to highlight issues of racism, nationality, passport documentation, accessibility and border control.
Balfron Promise was released on 2 February. It is available at
The band are on a European tour from 2 February. For a list of tour dates go to 47soul.com/tour/