Jowan Safadi started his career as a singer, songwriter and frontman of Lenses, a project that he collaborated with Israeli musicians, and 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 personal reflections on a wide range of issues related to politics, religion and philosophy, sexuality, this fundamental component is 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’, that he sings in Hebrew for the first time, carrying a strong message to the racist Israeli society.
Jowan’s residency is realised in context of AR-Safe Haven Helsinki programme co-organised by Perpetuum Mobile and HIAP and funded by the City of Helsinki, The Anna Lindh National Network in Finland (Anna Lindh -säätiön Suomen kansallinen verkosto), the Finnish Musician’s Union (Muusikkojen liitto) and the Finnish Music Council (Suomen Musiikkineuvosto). Curated by Perpetuum Mobile.