As most of you are probably aware, President Trump has signed an executive order that’s essentially banned travel to the US from seven majority Muslim states including Syria, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen and Libya. In the last few weeks, there have been protests around the world calling for the removal of the ban. Luckily, the order was retracted by a US judge. Still, we’re living in an increasingly divided society, cleaved by prejudices towards class, race and gender. In turbulent times like this, turning towards music isn’t such a bad idea. I’m taking this opportunity to list a few artists, labels, and mixes from across the world that I think you should check out.
RADIO.GARDEN // Every time you spin the globe on radio.garden, Trump dies a little inside. Radio Garden is a fantastic project funded by the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision. This genius website allows users to listen to any radio station from around the world. It features stations from all seven of the countries Trump arbitrarily has an issue with. The last station I listened to was in Tblisi, Georgia, where the DJ was playing Dizzee Rascal – you can have endless fun with this. http://radio.garden/live/
OMAR SOULEYMAN // has perhaps the most intriguing and inspiring story of an artist from a Syrian village; his traditional form of Dabke music has proved to be a success across the globe. Originally a wedding singer in the northwest of Syria, Souleyman’s craft has now seen him perform at festivals around the world, and even at events such as the 20th Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Sweden. Artists such as Caribou and Four Tet have provided him with platforms to play his music whilst simultaneously producing for him. The outpouring of love Omar Souleyman has received and given is, again, further proof that music has no borders.
JAKARTA RECORDS // I’ve always been a big fan of Jannis Stürtz’s series of Habibi Funk mixes. Stürtz, a DJ based in Berlin, often goes on trips to Africa or the Middle East to find and collect tapes and records to add to his ever-growing repository. It makes sense, then, that he’s had a few words to say about Trump’s Muslim ban.
In his own words: “Just 2 days ago I was sitting in a café during my recent trip to Lebanon and Egypt, when Donald Trump announced his ban on Muslim people visiting the USA, marking another climax of xenophobic, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arabic narrative…I’m aware that in times like these, music is just a tiny piece of the puzzle in telling a different story, but given that this is what I’m working with, I felt it was the right time to drop another mix of music from Arabic tapes, vinyl and master recordings – music that’s very different to what a lot of people might expect.”
By Omar Koshin
DUR-DUR BAND // Formed in Somalia in the 80s during Mogadishu’s flourishing creative and musical scene, disco legends The Dur-Dur Band performed regularly around the horn of Africa. Their music is full of funk, featuring soulful interjections. The instability caused by the civil war meant that by 1990, their members had left Somalia, effectively disbanding them. The good news is that Canadian Brian Shimkovitz has re-released their original 1987 cassettes on his record label Awesome Tapes from Africa. Since then, their music has received critical acclaim— it’s hard not to enjoy it.