Jowan Safadi, Palestinian musician extraordinaire, AR-Resident at Safe Haven Helsinki

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Check out Jowan Safadi’s explosive material


Jowan Safadi started his career as a singer, songwriter and frontman of “Lenses”, a project that he collaborated on with Israeli musicians, and which was active until late 2007 producing three studio albums of experimental rock. Jowan’s solo breakthrough kicked off in 2008 when his single “Ghool” topped local radio charts, captivating underground audiences with its fuzzy electro rock sound. This was followed by a series of enticing singles until his debut solo album “Namrud” was finally released. Smoothly fusing punk-rock aesthetics with Arabic grooves and intonations, it included songs such as “Electricity” and quirky parody “Poor Infidels” which rapidly became an anthem for fans across the Arab world. “Poor Infidels” also subsequently led to his detention in Jordan, for which Jowan was accused of blasphemy. While Jowan’s lyrics can be controversial – subtly toned with his personal reflections on a wide range of issues related to politics, religion and philosophy, and sexuality – these fundamental components are what gives his work a rare and revealing authenticity, making him one of the most influential contemporary artists in the Arabic scene. Jowan made headlines recently and reached Israeli, Palestinian and international media with his controversial song “To Be an Arab”, on which he sings in Hebrew for the first time, carrying a strong message to the racist Israeli society.

( music for social change [edited])

Further articles and reviews:

Radical talent Jowan Safadi’s new song – ‘To be an Arab’
Singer Jowan Safadi’s new song calls out Arab Jews for not supporting Palestinians
Cleared of Incitement Charges
The National, Al-Akhbar, Daily News, Free arabs


Jowan is also the singer songwriter and guitarist of free-Arabic rock band FISH SAMAK and the experimental electronic duo AboJar. Fish Samak is a free Arabic Rock band based in Haifa, founded by Jowan Safadi following the release of “Namrud”, his debut solo album in 2012. Since then, Fish Samak’s energetic shows have been rocking stages across Palestine, Israel, Jordan and Egypt, with their unique blend of strong meaningful lyrics, Arabic beats, garage sounds and electronic touches that keep audiences moving and singing along.


Fish Samak has released four studio tracks from their processing debut album, that draw away from the traditional sound of Arabic rock and Jowan’s usual style, and instead reflect an in-your-face attitude with a fresh, raw sound that the band has been developing over the past two years. Their live performances in festivals and events across the region have made Fish Samak one of the most talked about music acts in Palestine.


The “AboJar” laboratory, started in 2014, is where electronic music producer Jebus Khoury meets his neighbor-songwriter and guitarist Jowan Safadi to create refreshing experimental tracks and songs that combine Jebus’s electronic sounds with Jowan’s dubbed spoken word, poetry and slight guitar touches. Jebus and Jowan first met in the alternative Arabic rock band Fish Samak in which Jowan is the founding singer-songwriter and Jebus is the drummer


Jowan Safadi, Palestinian musician extraordinaire, is the first resident of PM/HIAP’s “AR-Safe Haven Helsinki” programme on Suomenlinna, funded by the City of Helsinki. Jowan Safadi is an AR-resident from early March until the end of May, 2016. He is scheduled to record new music with local musicians, play several concerts, and participate in talks and round-tables.

On his way to Helsinki Jowan stopped over in Harstad, Norway, for Music Freedom Day:
#‎SafeHaven‬ ‪#‎OnTheMove‬ ‪#‎PM‬ ‪#‎HIAP‬

Jowan Safadi’s residency is realized in collaboration with the Finnish Musician’s Union, and supported by the Anna Lindh Foundation. Our thanks also goes to the local institutions, including the Finnish Musicians’ Union, who have kindly provided their time, efforts and resources to hosting Jowan!

Safe Haven Helsinki is the continuation of the On the Move / Nordic Fresh Air residency programme for art practitioners at risk also run by PM/HIAP since 2013.