Songman: the heart of the solution

Host stories

Louise Smith

11 February 2016

During our 2014 Pow-Wow, an extraordinary meeting took place. Daniel Dor, an Israeli musician, sat down with Antwan Saca, a Palestinian non-violence activist. The end result? A new Israeli-Palestinian co-existence initiative. Here’s how it came about.

In Rajasthan last October, Daniel and Antwan found themselves chatting during a break in the Pow-Wow programme. Says Daniel: “I’d never had the chance to sit down with someone from the West Bank before – let alone make friends with them”. Initially bonding over a shared love of music, their conversation inevitably led to their homelands, and the conflict that would separate them once they returned to the Middle East. But that day in Jaipur, in an emotionally charged meeting, they found a mutual outlook, an openness and realisation that their friendship could lead to something inspirational. When Antwan shared some of his poetry, Daniel took out his guitar and added music to the words. The result meant so much to both of them. Back in Israel, Daniel recorded the song and put his efforts into promoting it. Before long, it was enjoying airtime on Israeli radio stations – and the song’s evolution has even been turned into a short documentary film.

A year later, this single piece of music led to the launch of the Songman project, which aims to use creative arts to foster non-violence and dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis. Songman, using local/national radio and social media, will spread its message as far as the movement will take it. For Daniel and Antwan, the possibilities are endless.

Find out how you can contribute to the Songman crowd-funding effort here