“Pashut Sharim – Simply Singing” is an organisation started four years ago by Hiday Goldsmith – it is a platform for Jews and Arabs to come together and meet each other through singing together in both Hebrew and Arabic. They are part of a growing number of people on both sides who see the conflict as a unsolvable in the way that it is currently framed and are looking for more creative ways to deal with it. According to Mahmood Shehadeh, the leading co-ordinator (and also Capoeira co-ordinator) of the organisation: “We didn’t want to get in to the complicated things (politics etc), because there is no solution, so we chose a common thing where everyone can be reminded of their shared humanity”.
It started with a jam session with Arabs and Jews coming together to play instruments and sing together. While they thought that not many people would attend their first events, they were proven wrong! Many people showed up and it grew steadily since then, starting with a sing along, to later inviting famous artists to play on stage as people sang along in the audience. At their last event between 2 and 3 thousand people, both Arabs and Jews, came together to sing. It was perhaps one of the biggest musical events in Jerusalem of the year – and amazing to think it was an intercultural sing along.
Being in Jerusalem and sharing a similar vision of people coming together through music, I knew that this was an organisation that I / The Human Sound Project needed to meet. We became friendly and Pashut Sharim invited us come and do a 2 hour song making experience with a group of volunteers from the organisation at one of their monthly meetings.
This was a group of Palestinian and Israeli young adults who shared a passion for the ideal of singing together but not all of whom had experience in singing or playing music. Since the organisation was all about using music and singing as a transformational tool, I asked the group to share experiences where music, either listening to it or making it, had brought them closer to people they wouldn’t otherwise have connected with.
Some beautiful stories emerged especially around the theme of love. Couples meeting over sharing songs and music together, some of whom ended up marrying. Hence the chorus of the song “When I heard the song, we fell in love. It was our story” sung in English, Hebrew and Arabic.
We then came together in a circle and began to make sounds… A traditional rhythm played by three on some tables, some great sung melodies inspired by local pop songs. We also had a wind instrumentalist who randomly brought along an oboe and a flute. He provided some funky bass lines and a sweet lead flute line. I added a little synth at the end. The chorus melody has a very ‘musical’ almost Frank Sinatra quality to it.
I personally love how this song came out! Really looking forward to producing a video for this one because of all the strong different musical elements and instruments. In the meantime enjoy this rough mix.