Disco stars Boney M.
Disco stars Boney M. Photo by Maria Laura Antonelli / Rex Features
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The lead singer of the iconic 1970s disco group Boney M said Thursday the band was asked to skip one of its biggest hits in a West Bank concert this week.

The disco group headlined a festival of several international and Palestinian artists and bands. The Palestine International Festival kicked off with British-Palestinian singer Shadia Mansour in Bethlehem on Monday.

Boney M., known for "Rasputin," "By the Rivers of Babylon," "Ma Baker" and "Hooray! Hooray! It's a Holi-Holiday" gained worldwide fame for its music in the late '70s disco era.

Maizie Williams said the Palestinian concert organizers told her not to sing "By the Rivers of Babylon" during the band's first ever Ramallah gig. The song's chorus quotes from the Book of Psalms, referring to the exiled Jewish people's yearning to return to the land of Israel.

Palestinians often question the Jewish historical connection to the Holy Land.

Williams said she did not know if it was a political thing or what, but they asked us not to do it and we were a bit disappointed. Organizers said they asked for the song to be skipped, deeming it inappropriate.

The Palestinian International Festival continued on Thursday in the West Bank.

Other performers at the festival included Algerian singer Cheb Faudel, Tareq al Nasser and the Rum Group.

The festival was organized by the Popular Art Center, directed by Iman Hamouri.