The release of the song and video was marked on 12 March with a Skype link up between the Soweto Palestine Solidarity Alliance with activists in Palestine to launch Israeli Apartheid Week in Gaza.
“This was a momentous moment as it not only signalled a growing impatience with apartheid Israel but also asserted a common bond of struggle against oppression and for a just peace between South Africans and Palestinians,” Naazim Adam of South Africa’s Palestine Solidarity Alliance wrote in an emailed statement.
“Despite being over 1000km apart, Palestinians and Sowetans were able to feel the common brotherhood and sisterhood that unites people against racial intolerance,” Adam added.
The New Black was written and composed by Jeremy Karodia and Ayub Mayet as “a musical reaction to the horror of the Gaza Massacre of 2008/2009 and then subsequently inspired by the book Mornings in Jenin, authored by Susan Abulhawa,” according to notes accompanying the video.
The Mavrix recorded their part in South Africa while Omar recorded the Oud in Gaza.
Release accompanying “The New Black” official video
In a first ever musical collaboration between South Africa and Palestine, South African band, The Mavrix, and Palestinian Oud player, Mohammed Omar, have released a music video called “The New Black”. The song is taken from The Mavrix’ upcoming album,”Pura Vida”, due for release in June 2012.
Written and composed by Jeremy Karodia and Ayub Mayet, the song was a musical reaction to the horror of the Gaza Massacre of 2008/2009 and then subsequently inspired by the book “Mornings in Jenin”, authored by Susan Abulhawa. Mayet had penned the first lyrics in 2009 after the Massacre and the song went into musical hibernation. Having read the novel, “Mornings in Jenin”, he then re-wrote the lyrics and the song evolved into its current version.
Haidar Eid, a Gaza based BDS activist and friend of the band, heard the song in 2011 and urged the band to do a collaboration with Palestinian Oud player, Mohamed Omar. He also suggested that the band do a video highlighting the collaboration between South African and Palestinian musicians and also the similarities in the two struggles.
The song was recorded by The Mavrix in South Africa whilst Mohamed recorded the Oud in Gaza and, although never having had the opportunity to meet, the musical interplay between the musicians so far apart illustrates the empathy the musicians feel in solidarity with each other.
Produced by The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance (South Africa) and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) along with written endorsements from Haidar Eid of PACBI, Omar Barghouti of the BDS Movement, Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada and Susan Abulhawa, author of “Mornings in Jenin”, the song represents a message of support from South Africans, who having transgressed and crossed over their own oppression under apartheid, stand in solidarity with Palestinians who are currently experiencing their own oppression under Israeli apartheid.
The video will be launched on the 12 March 2012 at 2.30pm SA time from Gaza at the start of Israeli Apartheid Week Palestine and will be on youtube following the official launch.
In addition to the digital upload, the PSA will be handing out hardcopies of the DVD as well.