Don’t be fooled by the stage name: Doc Jazz is an Arab. If you stumble upon his music by accident, and hear one of his non-political songs, you might think you are dealing with your regular Western musician, possibly American or European. But then again, perhaps that is exactly the purpose behind choosing that alias.
Maybe you are intended to walk into Doc Jazz’s musical realm without any prejudices or suspicions, and be enticed into listening further. But if this indeed happens, you are bound to run into a variety of songs that deal an unmistakably political message, even though it is wrapped up in funky music with a positive vibe.
The styles of Doc Jazz
If you take a tour through the ‘musical city’ called Doc Jazz – which at the moment consists of no less than 96 songs – you will find that practically all genres are represented. You will run into the purest of traditional Palestinian tunes, played on the shibbabeh (Palestinian flute), the darbekkeh (handdrum) and the Oud (Arabian lute). You will run into rock music, hip-hop tracks, and songs that have a jazzy sound.
Occasionally there will be some tunes that really could be called ‘jazz’, but many of the songs have the traits, beat and style of Doc Jazz’s own unique blend of pop music with a jazzy flavor. You will also find piano ballads, and instrumental songs that create their own fusion of musical styles. All in all, nothing seems harder than to classify the music of Doc Jazz into one genre – it almost seems to be all there.
When it comes to lyrics, there are songs in three languages: English, Arabic and Dutch. What comes forward in most of the songs is a clear political message of racial equality, anti-colonialism, and a strong dedication to the struggle of the Palestinian people for the liberation of their homeland.
These themes are closely related to the person who is Doc Jazz: a Palestinian born in exile in the Netherlands, who never had any inclination to identify himself as Dutch, but who felt that this artificial migrant identity was forced upon him by the political situation of the Palestinians. He has dedicated a considerable part of his life to expressing his rebellion against this situation in a variety of ways, including writing, public speaking, and music.
You will also find that it’s not all politics: many of the songs have ordinary everyday themes as well. Any human being, including an Arab, has other things on his mind besides struggle, war, injustice and politics. So does Doc Jazz. In fact, this is part of the message.
Music is a language
Doc Jazz has always immersed himself deeply in Arab and Palestinian culture – language, tradition, folklore, religion, it is all deeply embedded into his soul and his identity, and he considers this in itself a victory over the zionist-induced state of exile that second-generation Palestinians are born into. Nevertheless, he also believes that whoever lives anywhere, should be in close and intensive contact and communication with his surroundings, and that language is the bridge to mutual understanding and coexistence.
For this reason, those who have dealings with him outside of the political realm will barely ever be confronted in a direct way with his strong adherence to his Palestinian identity. And this is exactly what is reflected in the music: this music is accessible to people from all nations, from all religions, and from all parts of the world.
Music is a language, especially pop music which actually utilizes languages in its lyrics. Doc Jazz uses it to try and compose a message that can be communicated to the world without creating any form of alienation, and bring the Palestinian cause close to you.
Meet an Arab
Browse through the song list, and imagine you have entered a buffet where there is an immense variety of tastes, and where some of what is offered will appeal to you more than some of the other things on the table. This is the beauty of a buffet: you pick, you taste, you savour, and you find out what suits you most.
During your visit, you may find that you are completely forgetting that your host is anything but a human being with emotions just like yours, with ideas that you can easily identify with, and with a world view that is anything but alien. And if Doc Jazz has his way, you may well return from your visit with a positive feeling.
Doc Jazz on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/docjazz
The Doc Jazz website: http://www.docjazz.com
Direct link to all songs: http://www.soundclick.com/docjazz