Category Archives: arabic

RUPTURE & YTO BARRADA @ THE WALKER ART CENTER

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In conjunction with the exhibition An Album: Cinematheque Tangier, join artist/filmmaker Yto Barrada and special guest DJ Rupture, referred to as “a thoughtful pipeline for music from countless distant and obscure outposts” (New York Times), for an evening filled with the music and movies of North Africa. Cash bar.
Free. November 21, 2013. 6 – 9 pm. Walker Art Center, Burnet Gallery

YES MINNEAPOLIS! I’LL BE SPINNING LOTS OF EXTRA NICE MUSIC FROM NORTH AFRICA & IT’S FREE & YTO’S AWESOME SO SEE YOU THERE YES.

THIS VIDEO DOCUMENTS A CONCERT I STAGED IN THE TANGIER MEDINA, RIGHT OUTSIDE YTO’S CINEMATHEQUE. MZIEN! IFULKI! <3 MAROC.

EINE KLEINE NACHTMUSIK: Ramadan edition

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Jerusalem In My Heart – 3andalib Al-Furat
From the album Mo7it Al-Mo7it.

Literally, 3andalib Al-Furat means Nightingale of the Euphrates… spoiler alert — birdsong makes a lovely appearance here. Nighttime mood.

Welcome to Eine Kliene Nachtmusik: Ramadan edition.

BEYOND THE BLOCK & A NEW RUPTURE MIX

This weekend we gave away physical copies of my latest mix CD. Today I’m offering it online. The mix is directly inspired by transnational Mexican sonidero culture, and uses its format to air the voices and stories of a group of dedicated rent strikers out here in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Here’s a download of the mix and the story of how it came to be–

This past Saturday, friends & I threw a community-minded block party at Rainbow Park in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The basic idea was to air live music that reflects the population here (Latino, Chinese, Arab…), to bring folks together into a space with great sound as community groups offer info and services.

It takes much painstaking organization, discussion, and collaboration to create an open-ended space, any inclusive moment wide with margins of possibility. I think we managed to do it. Hundreds showed up, listened, participated.

[BTB - kids at Nuria Montiel's print vinyl station, photo by Sound Liberation Front]

Planning for ‘Beyond The Block’ began in late spring and continued — with weekly meetings! — until this Saturday. Our we grew over time, expanding to include people from Beyond Digital, Dutty Artz, The Arab American Association of New York, CAAAV, La Unión, La Casita Comunal de Sunset Park, Sound Liberation Front, and various local artists and community members. Manhattan electronic music school Dubspot donated a grip of top-quality gear. On the day of the event, dozens of volunteers came to help everything flow.

[Undocumented youth activists. Ty Ushka's instagram.]

We made posters for Beyond The Block in four languages: Spanish, Mandarin, English, Arabic. Musicians/DJs held extended conversations with community organizers working towards social justice. Various worlds shrank. We focused on local, person-to-person outreach — that’s why you didn’t see mention of this event on any blogs for example. Our digital hype/ “social networking” skills were put towards helping our partner organizations located in Sunset Park and Bay Ridge activate & amplify the word through their networks.

[Beyond The Block flyers by Talacha]

If the dominant mode of musical experience in 2012 is a web-sped diet of consume and move on, then Beyond The Block is interested in learning about the slow social manifestations of all this music that moves us, and asking how our excitement over these sounds can contribute, in a direct way, to the communities where its heartbeat comes from. And besides, I’ve lived in Sunset Park ever since I moved back to the US in 2006.

As we wrote in the mission statement:

Can a hype block party double as an opportunity to spread information about stop & frisk, immigrant rights, police surveillance, and housing? We say yes. As the championing of diversity, a global outlook, and a celebration of the local become increasingly common in today’s dance music scenes, we see an ideal opportunity to use the energy & open-ended vibe of a great party to connect musical ideas to their real-world analogs — to create a space where we can talk about – and dance to – an incredible musical selection while sharing useful information for our communities that are impacted by issues pertaining to undocumented workers’ rights, transnational identity, health care, police violence, housing and more.

How did it go? Fine late summer sun shone on nonstop music performances across a variety of styles and languages — including teen rappers from around the block, Omnia Hegazy’s English-Arabic guitar songs, Los Skarroneros’ Marxist ska-punk, Uproot Andy DJing, and a perfectly-pitched closing ceremony by Cetiliztli Nauhcampa Quetzalcoatl in Ixachitlan. (This last group had me wishing that DJ Javier Estrada was there, indigenous time rise up).

[photo by Neha Gautam]

In addition to the music were things like: a handball court transformed into a realtime street art gallery, Nuria Montiel’s incredible pushcart art station that let kids transform vinyl records in printing devices, a dozen or so community groups sharing info, $1 spicy grilled octopus from the Chinese food cart…

As fellow organizer Larisa Mann/DJ Ripley wrote, “the face-painting and mural-painting folks were total troopers mobbed by excited kids all day, the community organizations & folks at the tables were full of useful information and good humor and the basketball and handball NEVER STOPPED.” When Ashland Total Freedom came walking up I had to pinch myself. As it turned out, everything really did happen. We’re working on a website but until then you’ll have to peer into the soul-sucking abyss of the Zuckerborg to see it.

[painting produced on the day, Ty Ushka's instagram]

The point is not to brag about this event. The point is to remind ourselves: this is possible. A few dedicated individuals can leverage a lot. Music can start & sustain conversations. You can throw a block party like this wherever you live, too. Getting the permits and such wasn’t that hard (despite NYC’s somnambulant bureaucracy); sharing the workload made everything easier; post-meeting tacos & micheladas formed their own satisfying world.

But about this new mixtape…

As the planning went on, I started thinking about ways to extend the outburst of energy that comes – then goes! – with putting on a party. Something that could spread slowly, perhaps in online worlds, after we tended to the here-and-now on one exquisite September day.

[Beyond The Block flyers by Talacha]

In helping to make this block party happen, I ended up working closely with people involved in the rent strike on 46th St. The mixtape idea clicked into place all at once: I would select made-in-the-USA cumbia instrumentals, and have those sounds serve as a backing track to the rent strikers explaining, in their own words, what is happening, why they are struggling. Most of the three rent striking buildings’ residents are Latino immigrants, many from Mexico. I mentioned my idea at a meeting — people were into it. Pues… ¡Vámonos!

[photos taken by rent strikers]

Noelle Theard introduced me to some of the principal rent strikers, then she and Dennis Flores, who had already been working closely with the strikers, conducted incredible interviews. As the Spanish-speakers among us will hear, one of the other great things about these interviews is how very different each person’s perspective on the rent strike is. It ranges from deeply personal accounts — say, of dirty water dripping on Eulogia’s stovetop — to broad political analysis examining the banks’ roles, to philosophical reflections on rights and dignity and how a just struggle can empower. If you don’t understand the Spanish then hopefully the deep cumbias will communicate.

The ‘Sunset Park Rent Strike Speakout Mix’ was directly inspired by Mexican sonideros. Sonideros (DJs/sound-people) talk on the mic and select tunes, narrating the party and activating the music, cracking jokes, taking requests to dedicate shoutouts to (often-distant) friends, family, lovers. They literally speak community into existence. Dozens of sonidero parties rock NYC each month, from private weddings to all-nighters in inconspicuous venues under the BQE. (Here’s an introductory article on cumbia sonidera in the New York Times from 2003, and an excellent Spanish language e-book published by friends over at El Proyecto Sonidero.)

Another nice thing about the voices gathered here is how they reflect the high level of women involved in the struggle for housing justice in Sunset Park. (With notable exceptions like DF’s Lupita de la Cigarita, sonidero culture skews heavily towards men on the mic).

But I’ve said enough. Here you go:

DOWNLOAD : Sunset Park Rent Strike Speakout Mix [25 minutes, 61MB] (mixed by DJ Rupture, produced by Noelle Theard & Dennis Flores)

RADIO CAIRO

[kids & graffiti on Mhmd Mahmoud near Tahrir]

Cairo, Egypt. A few yards down from this graffiti lies the city’s best English language bookstore, and a few yards beyond that, the former British army barracks turned into traffic circle elevated into iconic revolutionary space. Tahrir means Liberation.

With Egyptian presidential elections getting very close, now’s a good time to listen to Cairo, its sounds & music, its clamor and dignity.

Last Wednesday’s radio show with Arabic translator Humphrey Davies, recorded on location in Egypt, is now streaming, and it’s fantastic:

In it he discusses the sounds of Cairo from car-horn honking Morse code obscenities to the changing ways of voicing the divine; nostalgia for the 1940s and brand new sha3by lyrics; Nancy Arjam’s class-bending single and Oum Koulsoum’s ongoing appeal. We also touch upon the world of Egyptian publishing and get insight about Davies work as a translator (I just finished his translation of Alaa Al Aswany’s The Yacoubian Building, and it is excellent. Highly recommended.) including a preview into the amazing 19th ct Lebanese book he’s working on right now (which includes lists of “well known locations in hell” and “17 types of medieval glue”).

Special guest next week: Monterrey Mexico’s DJ Javier Estrada! Info soon.

[Former AUC library, Cairo]

RADIO: HUMPHREY DAVIES & THE LOVEJOY BOOKENDS

[Humphrey Davies]

Next Wednesday, May 16th, award-winning translator Humphrey Davies (The Yacoubian Building, Naguib Mahfouz, Elias Khoury) will be the special guest on my weekly radio show. Davies is going to share some of his favorite sounds from Cairo and the Middle East — everything from spellbinding Quranic recitation to a surprisingly convincing defense of Nancy Arjam. We’ll also discuss his process of literary translations from Arabic to English. We recorded this episode at Humphrey’s apartment in downtown Cairo last month, and I have to say, you are in for a treat! Eloquent insight from a man who has made Cairo his home for more than 35 years.

And of course, last night’s radio show is now streaming. Lots of new beats on here, bookended by the summery harmonies of the Love Joys.

As always, you can subscribe to the Mudd Up! podcast for downloadable versions, issued about a week after FM broadcast: . Also useful: WFMU’s free iPhone app. We also have a version for Android (search for “WFMU” in the marketplace).

NETTLE & HASSAN WARGUI (IMANAREN) live in Tangiers

Busy season… I’ve been meaning to post about September, when Nettle, Maggie and Juan, and Hassan and Abdellah and I met up in Tangiers Morocco for a week. Until I get the time to explain more about that, here is a video which captures the spirit and sound of what happened:

This September 2011, Hassan Wargui (Imanaren) from south Morocco met the group Nettle from New York City in Tangiers. A week of collaborative songwriting and recording led up to a concert outside the Cinematheque de Tanger in the medina. This is “L’Avion”, one of the songs they wrote during this time.

Imanaren. and their album, out now on Dutty Artz.

Nettle. And their album, out now on Sub Rosa.

LIVE RADIO & MOVIE TONITE, BRIAN FROM GGD NEXT WEEK

Tonight, Monday November 7th, I’ll be hosting a live radio broadcast of my WFMU show at South Williamsburg’s Spectacle Theater, followed by a screening of excellent musical comedy 100% Arabica, starring Khaled and Cheb Mami. Music/youtubery begins at 7:30, film at 9pm, showing up early is a good idea, especially if you want the homemade mint tea and dates… Full info + flyer here.

And then next Monday November 14th, Mudd Up radio returns to the WFMU studios with special guest Brian Degraw of Gang Gang Dance!!

WE LIVE LISTEN IN EXCITING TIMES.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted MP3s on here. In honor of tonight’s live radio broadcast / rai special, here are 3 songs which may make there way into tonight’s setlist:

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Cheb Mami – Ana Mazel [Prince of Raï]

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Hasna El Becharia – Rabi-Lik [Smaa Smaa]

not raï, simply an incredible Algerian musicans stepping inside gnawa and other traditions to great effect.

bigmen

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Lamine & Anthoy Ray – Marvelous

This one comes from the unlikely 2001 CD Big Men: Raï meets Reggae, which pairs talent like Gregory Isaacs, U Roy, and Chaka Demus and Pliers with Khaled, Warda, Fadela, and more.

MUDD UP RADIO & 100% ARABICA LIVE @ SPECTACLE

Mzien! Next Monday November 7th, live radio & a great, rarely-screened film at a special location in South Williamsburg.

Join us at Brooklyn’s Spectacle Theater for a live broadcast of my WFMU radio show, “Mudd Up!” from 7:30-9pm, built around a YouTube selection, followed by a screening of the fantastic musical comedy, 100% Arabica. Set in the rough suburbs of Paris, this 1997 film by Algerian director Mahmoud Zemmouri stars raï kings Khaled and Cheb Mami. 100% Arabica uses satire and incredible live music scenes to tell the tale of an up-and-coming raï band that must deal with shady cops, cassette bootlegging kids, a conservative imam, and more.

Released just 2 years after Mathieu Kassovitz’s stark social drama Le Haine (Hate), 100% Arabica joyously offers alternatives to a narrow sociological exploration of urban tension by using the same location and same broad themes to celebrate Arab and African immigrant culture in Paris.

Homemade mint tea and dates will be served ’cause we’re nice like that.

NEW NETTLE ALBUM: OUT OCTOBER 25th ON SUB ROSA

As Pitchfork announced on Friday – We’ll be releasing the new Nettle album on October 25, on avant-garde/experimental powerhouse label Sub Rosa! (Sub Rosa has been publishing quality weird for over 20 years, from archival material by James Joyce and Marcel Duchamp to albums by Pauline Oliveros, Luc Ferrari, and Tod Dockstader).

For this album, we imagined a remake of Stephen King/Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining set in a luxury hotel in Dubai, U.A.E. El Resplandor: The Shining In Dubai is our soundtrack for that nonexistent film.

Nettle-El Resplandor SR324

I produced and arranged El Resplandor, working with musicians Abdelhak Rahal, Jennifer Jones, Khalid Bennaji, Andy Moor, Brent Arnold, and Lindsay Cuff. Artwork is by Emirati photographer Lamya Gargash, taken from her incredible Presence series documenting “unwanted houses and structures in the United Arab Emirates that have been abandoned or left for demolition.” Architecture writer and Studio X co-director Geoff ‘BLDGBLOG’ Manaugh gave us some mindbending liner notes.

What else can I say? I put a lot of time into making this album & I hope you enjoy it. October 25 is the U.S. date; it should reach shops in Europe about 2 weeks before that.

This Wednesday I’ll be at the Decibel Festival in Seattle, giving a free, all-ages presentation of my setup for concerts with Nettle (laptop/gear/instrument- and vocal-processing): real talk about strategies to make live electronic music more dynamic and flexible.

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El Resplandor tracklist:

01 El Resplandor
02 Radio Flower
03 There Is a Hole in the Middle of the World Filled With Languages That Don’t Have Names
04 Espina
05 Empty Quarters
06 Nakhil
07 Simoom (Wasp Wind)
08 Red Masque Ticker
09 El Resplandor: In the Marsh
10 Shining One
11 Khalid’s Song