DJ van Dyk al­bum faces ban in Arab world

The China Post - - LIFE - BY SHAUN TAN­DON

When Paul van Dyk tapped DJs from around the world for his latest al­bum, he called it “The Pol­i­tics of Danc­ing 3” to show the uni­fy­ing power of dance mu­sic.

But now the lead­ing elec­tronic artist is up against some real pol­i­tics of danc­ing — his al­bum is un­avail­able in much of the Arab world, ap­par­ently due to his in­clu­sion of Is­raeli DJs.

“It’s quite strange that the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in some corners of this planet for­bid this al­bum from be­ing re­leased,” van Dyk told AFP be­fore a re­cent club set in New York.

“It’s al­most sur­real, and it’s dis­ap­point­ing. I re­ally thought we had pro­gressed fur­ther than that al­ready,” he said.

“The state­ment was very clear — this mu­sic brings peo­ple to­gether, re­gard­less of what god they be­lieve in, or what re­li­gion they fol­low, or what cit­i­zen­ship they have.”

The Ger­man DJ, who is con­sid­ered one of the founders of trance mu­sic, said he had been told that his al­bum was un­avail­able in a num­ber of Arab coun­tries.

AFP re­porters in Egypt and Le­banon con­firmed that searches lo­cally on iTunes for “The Pol­i­tics of Danc­ing 3” turned up no re­sults.

The al­bum, how­ever, was ac­ces­si­ble to iTunes users whose ac­counts were reg­is­tered in Western coun­tries. The al­bum is avail­able in Is­rael.

Of­fi­cials did not com­ment on de­ci­sions on the al­bum. Boy­cotts of Is­raeli prod­ucts, in­clud­ing cul­tural, are wide­spread in the Arab world.

Van Dyk brought in nu­mer­ous es­tab­lished and up-and-com­ing DJs for “The Pol­i­tics of Danc­ing 3,” in­clud­ing sev­eral from the Arab world such as Egyp­tian duo Aly and Fila, who have emerged as a lead­ing force on the global trance scene.

Two col­lab­o­ra­tors — Michael Tsuk­er­man and the duo Las Salinas — are Is­raeli, but they do not per­form along­side the Arab artists.

Fre­quent Visi­tor to Mid­dle East

The con­tro­versy sur­prised van Dyk, who en­joys an Arab fan base and has played in the past year in Beirut, Doha, Dubai and Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Van Dyk is hardly known for loaded lyri­cism. The track with Tsuk­er­man has only one line, which is re­peated over a club­pack­ing beat: “If we only look back then we never know what we’re liv­ing for.”

“If I had some bad lyrics on there, or some­thing that doesn’t qual­ify for a young au­di­ence or what­ever — stuff like that I un­der­stand,” van Dyk said.

Van Dyk re­leased the first “The Pol­i­tics of Danc­ing” in 2001, with the ti­tle meant to celebrate youth cul­ture amid a crack­down on clubs un­der New York’s then mayor Rudy Gi­u­liani, who cam­paigned ag­gres­sively on law-an­dorder.

Van Dyk said he did not in­ten­tion­ally choose Arab and Is­raeli artists for “The Pol­i­tics of Danc­ing 3” and in­stead picked DJs on artis­tic merit.

But in an ear­lier in­ter­view with AFP re­leased as the al­bum came out in May, van Dyk ex­plained that he has seen dance mu­sic tran­scend po­lit­i­cal bound­aries and re­counted how Arab and Is­raeli friends bonded when they met on the Span­ish clubbing is­land of Ibiza.

Van Dyk, speak­ing af­ter the ap­par­ent ban, said he would not al­ter the al­bum to sell it in the Arab world.

“I’m not bending down to some­thing I to­tally dis­miss,” he said.

“If there is fric­tion be­tween coun­tries on a po­lit­i­cal agenda, which hap­pens, sadly enough.

“But to pull the plug on art?” he asked. “Where is the fu­ture if artists can­not work to­gether be­cause of some­thing like this?”

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