\\ About /AL\Berlin \\
What Is AL.Berlin?
/AL\Berlin is a “rendez vous” in Berlin to promote points of meeting devoted to Contemporary Music and The Arts. We strive to create points of meeting in order to connect people through Art, Music, various Knowledge Productions methods and sensory experiences with the Contemporary Moment of West Asia and North Africa (WANA) Region. Whether this moment is happening in the geographic region itself or in its various diasporas. Ambitiously, we hope to add to the numerous efforts of creating a politically free moment for the region, for Berlin, Europe and the entire world, through this cultural engagement junction between Berlin and the Region as the departure point we embark from to the universe.
Since February 2020, /AL\Berlin has also had a physical residence in the /AL\Cafe/Bar located in the Remise Building in the backyard of Skalitzer Str. 114, 10999, Kreuzburg, Berlin, as the collective took the decision to rent the backyard building in that address just behind the “Bulbul Berlin” Club who took over the FarbFernSeher (Colored TV), the Legendary Berliner Mini-Club, who actually made the location famous in the first place. We are thankful for the FarbFernSeher symbolical value of the location, to the previous Colored TV Store which was there before, in addition to our appreciation and collaboration with our neighbors: The Bulbul Berlin Club. Moreover, we value our presence in Kreuzberg with all of its history and various communities, especially the SO36 District we are located in.
The source of using /AL\ (آل) (pronounced with a long Ā) as the name of our initiative can be found in a word play in the Arabic language. When pronounced with a short “A” then /AL\ is the Arabic Definite Article أل (like “The” in English, or el, la, los and las in Spanish, or der, die, das in German), so when Arabs would say “The Festival” or “The Cafe” it will always go “AL Festival” or “AL Maqha”, but moreover when pronounced in a longer “ā – Ā” then آل is a synonym of أهل (Family, People, Tribe) as in saying “The People Of…” or “The Family Of…” for example in various prayers: (آل إبراهيم AL Ibrahim) would mean the descendants and believers of the Abrahamic Religions. In this sense, we hope that /AL\Berlin will be a major actor in creating Berlin as a Family/Community/People where we all feel welcomed and where descendants of the WANA Region could call it a home.
So how did it all start? What happened in the previous chapters?
Here is a kind of a synopsis …
/AL\Berlin has been active as a collective since February 2019. During 2019 it produced more than 10 music and art events, providing a stage for more than 28 acts, hosting more than 1800 attendees. It all started with AL.Festival.2019, produced by /AL\Berlin, funded by Music Board Berlin, a remarkable gathering around representative music of the Arab Spring Revolutions.
And Then What?
During 2020 most of AL.Berlin planned Live Concerts and other Cultural Activities were canceled due to the World Pandemic.
But notwithstanding the harsh conditions for creating /AL\Cafe/Bar/Studio as a vivid cultural meeting point in times of lockdowns, social distancing, capacity restrictions we strived through!
Since opening /AL\Cafe/Bar in June 2020 we are satisfied that our space is modestly becoming a space for an amazing crowd and creating a kind of a vivid community around it while serving as workshop, seminar, meeting, and working space for many friends and allies in Berlin. /AL\Cafe/Bar/Studio consists of a Cafe/Bar Floor and a Studio Floor for Workshops, Meetings, Screenings, Public and Artist Talks and Lectures. The Studio Floor, despite the relatively short time since opening, has already hosted many remarkable activities as workshops for Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Berlin office, Bard College Berlin students workshop, Europe in The Middle East – Middle East in Europe (Forum of Transregional High Studies Berlin) seminar, not overlooking our Arabic Language Activities for Kids, or our weekly Yoga Classes, in addition to music workshops and community social and political meetings.
In addition, in 2020, we engaged in a collaboration with our Neighbors “Bulbul Berlin” that created several outstanding events, to mention a few:
We were part of The United We Stream platform for club music live streaming to save the Berlin Club Culture. Among a selected number of clubs chosen to represent the Berlin Club Commission and the Berlin Ministry of Culture we participated in the Day of Club Culture, and in December 2020, we produced a series of Live Streaming titled “The Witches Tales” supported by Music Board Berlin.
Okay, and in 2021?
In 2021 we relaunched again reopening /AL\Cafe/Bar in June 2021 after the long second lockdown in Germany. But probably the most worth mentioning happening in 2021 is that we succeeded to bring our Second Festival Edition AL.Festival.2021 into reality, supported by Music Board Berlin. AL.Berlin saw a great success in this second edition of AL.Festival that followed the main guidelines of the first edition: AL.Festival.2019, while the 2020 edition was lost to the pandemic. In this edition AL.Festival.2021 managed to build on and expand the principle of providing early career Berliner musicians with a shared stage night with well known medium career and well established musicians in the targeted audience and in the relevant music genre, thus exposing early career Berliner musicians to a wider audience and international and national scope media exposure. In addition to the invaluable stage performance experience gained and the networking and community building with similar minded Artists from Berlin, Europe, WANA Region and the World.
In this edition, AL.Festival.2021 was achieved with the help of 11 Musical Acts (7 Berliners and 4 International) over two nights in Festsaal Kreuzberg and 18 different Panelists and Speakers in the accompanying Knowledge Production Series of Events that happened in /AL\Cafe/Bar spanning a whole month of related activities. These happenings managed to reach around 800 Live Music Audience in Festsaal Kreuzberg, while the workshops reached around 150 offline attendees with estimated 300 Online participants through Zoom. The knowledge production part of the festival was created with the EUME – Europe in the Middle East, the Middle East in Europe research program of the Forum Transregionale Studien and the IRGAC Research Group of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.