Palestinian electronic music duet Zenobia have shared “Sobo El Gahwa,” a cover of a Jordanian hit of the same name from the ’60s.
Combining Arabic pop melodies, Palestinian and Syrian dabke rhythms, and powerful beats, Zenobia are positioned at the forefront of the new, vibrant Palestinian electronic music movement. They released Halak Halak, their debut album, on Crammed Discs in June.
“Sobo El Gahwa,” their new song, talks about the Bedouin’s welcoming tradition, symbolized by ceremoniously prepared coffee, which is offered to brave riders and desert travelers as they reach the encampment and are invited into the tents. Zenobia’s version of the song features vocalist Faten Shafeq Kabaha, the daughter of iconic, late Palestinian singer Shafeq Kabaha.
Zenobia consists of Nasser Halahlih and Isam Elias. Nasser was a pioneer in the local scene, and was arguably the first Palestinian electronic music producer, back in the late ’90s. Young, fleet-fingered keyboardist Isam’s background is in European classical music.
The band draw their inspiration from pop and folk music from all over the region, including Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria. They refine their songs by taking them back and forth between their studio and the stage, where they improvise a lot, and feed off the audience reactions.
01. Sobo El Gahwa
Sobo El Gahwa is available now on Acid Arab Records and Crammed Discs. Meanwhile, you can stream the single in full below, and order it here.