AL.Festival.2021 – Music & Knowledge from WANA (West Asia & North Africa)
October 13 – November 12, 2021, Berlin.
AL.FESTIVAL is one of the most prominent music festivals focused on the contemporary music scene of West Asia & North Africa in Berlin. Featuring 11 artists from approximately 10 different countries in a two-night celebration at Festsaal Kreuzberg, AL.Festival aims to showcase some of the most artistically revolutionary acts of the region.
From hip-hop to psychedelic funk, in this second annual edition and through a series of live acts and dj sets as well as workshops curated by EUROPE IN THE MIDDLE EAST—THE MIDDLE EAST IN EUROPE (EUME) and the INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH GROUP ON AUTHORITARIANISM AND COUNTER-STRATEGIES (IRGAC – Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung), AL.Festival pursues to underline the deeper current changes of the recent years in which Berlin is becoming a home and a base for this scene artistically, socially, culturally and politically.
| Thursday, October 14th | Festsaal Kreuzberg | Tuesday, November 2nd |
Artists of AL.Festival.2021
(Palestine/Syria/France) | hip-hop/jazz | www.naissamjalal.com/band/alakhareen
AL AKHAREEN (“the others”) is a new line-up by the French-Syrian flutist Naïssam Jalal and the Palestinian rapper, singer, beatboxer and producer Osloob. Osloob was born in a refugee camp in Lebanon, Naïssam is the daughter of Syrian immigrants in France. What they ebody is linked to a violent history, to wars in which they did not participate but whose consequences they suffer, to the rejection of societies they had to face. Al Akhareen started playing as a duo, with Osloob on machines, voice and beatbox and Naïssam on flutes but soon expanded to a 6-piece band including saxophone and percussion (Mehdi Chaïb), drums (Sébastien Le Bon), bass (Viryane Say) and DJ Junkaz Lou on turntables. Through their music, Al Akhareen is breaking down the boundaries that the segregation between popular hip-hop and elitist jazz creates.
(Palestine) | hip-hop | www.damofficialband.com
DAM (“ever lasting”) is the first Palestinian hip-hop crew and among the first to rap in Arabic. Struck by the uncanny resemblance of the reality of the streets in a Tupac video to the streets in their own neighborhood in Lyd, Tamer Nafar, Suhell Nafar and Mahmood Jrere were inspired to tell their stories through hip-hop and began working together in the late 90s. Their music is a unique fusion of east and west, combining fierceful Arabic rap with Arabic rhythms, West Asian sounds and melodies, and deep bassy urban hip hop. Their single Emta Njawzak Yamma (“When will you get married?”) off their 3rd album BEN HAANA WA MAANA that came out on Cooking Vinyl in June 2019, tackles the social pressure of marriage and hit 1.6 million views on Youtube in only 6 months. After their successful release, DAM will finally be able to share their widely acclaimed record live in Berlin for the very first time.
(Greece/Berlin,Germany) | jazz/fusion
DIMITRA ZINA is a Greek selectress, curator and radio host on Radio Alhara راديو الحارة (Palestine) and Disco Tehran NYC (Iran/USA). In addition to her work as label manager/A&R at the Berlin-based Piranha Records, Dimitra has been actively engaged in the global music scene as music promoter and project manager for the past 8 years. Her selections focus on music from Africa and the Mediterranean with a jazz flavour.
(Colombia/Berlin,Germany) | afro-caribbean/jazz/tribal
EDNA MARTINEZ is an artist, DJ/curator and radio host from the Colombian Caribbean based in Berlin. Her musical selection is linked to her artistic research exploring autobiographical migratory routes. From Afro-Caribbean grooves to jazz bases, tribal polyrhythms, folklore, and beyond, she shakes global dancefloors. Founder of Latinarab , a trip around the Arab Caribbean, and Co-founder of El Volcán El Orgullo de Berlin,the 1st soundsystem picó party in Germany. She also moderates monthly radio shows on Radio Alhara راديو الحارة (Palestine), Worldwide FM (London) and Boxout.fm (India).
(Syria/Berlin,Germany) | hip-hop
ENANA is a trans non-binary Rapper, singer-songwriter, performer and activist who’s artistic engine has always been fueled by their quest for freedom and social justice. In the last years they have been nurturing a unique sound that represents their intertwined existence, being born in Damascus and based in Berlin since 2015.
(Syria) | west asian | www.carpet-ride.com/salma-sunshine-hasan-kai
HASAN KAI, one half of the band TootArd, will be premiering his solo debut release Salma Sunshine. The past year has been one of global darkness and isolation – those months have brought the inspiration to define Hasan’s guitar playing and to create his debut EP, released on Carpet Ride Records in May 2021. The lush blend of American guitar and West Asian microtones set the record’s tone. The melodies glide effortlessly, soaring and swooping as they carry the listener along, introducing them to some delicate, smooth organ and synth West Asian grooves. As we slowly come out of the darkness, Salma Sunshine brings the promise of warmth and light and a hopeful future.
JAMILA & THE OTHER HEROES
(manywhere/Berlin,Germany) | rock/funk/folklore | www.jamilaandtheotherheroes.com
JAMILA & THE OTHER HEROES is a Berlin based band that combines psychedelic desert funk with political content. Born in Berlin on the day the wall came down, and raised by her influential Palestinian refugee father, Jamila Al-Yousef’s cultural activism and strong will to positively change the world is drawn deep into her artistic expression. Psychedelic guitar riffs (Leon Hast), warm and earthy bass runs (Felix ‚Fema’ Barth), Arab percussion sounds (Salam Alhassan) as well as heavy hip-hop and rock influenced drum beats (Pier Ciaccio), create a unique dance floor that the five artists see as a breeding ground for people to meet and practise togetherness – the group’s response to the currently operating exclusion mechanisms of our time. After their double single YABA يابا and BORDER SYNDROME احلام بلا حدود release in June 2021, this is going to be the first time that the band will perform their newest work live on stage.
(Syria/France/Sweden) | electro-chaabi
NESHAMA is the first chaabi music band in Europe that comes from the Arabian uprising scene. Their debut album Neshama – Songs Belonging to the Syrian Revolution, features compositions based on the original sounds of the 2011 demonstrations in Syria. After being scattered around the world for approximately 8 years, Wael Alkak, Yazan Alqaq and Shadi Abazid will be reuniting in Berlin, to present their latest works. By collecting popular songs from Syria and beyond, they created a new style of music that stands out not merely for its digital reinventions of iconic songs, but for its attitude to, and dexterity in, the field of electronic music. Not shying away from synthesizers and the electronic equipment, this enthralling fusion pays homage to the spontaneous improvisations and the acid electronic music movement while still transporting the listener to the epochal feel of Syrian and Arabic music traditions and life.
OKYDOKY & MC SEMNOV
(Lebanon/Berlin,Germany) | hip-hop
OkyDoky’s pulsing synths and dredging basslines conjure the cold vastness of the red planet, while MC Semnov rides the flow, weaving together tales of migration and exile, with dreams of another, better planet that is perpetually out of grasp. Gritty, dark, and fantastical, their double EP release Al Mareekh (Mars) / Al Ard (Earth) which tells a dream of intergalactic migration, has been over three years in the making and is now finally out on Well Gedacht both on vinyl and digitally.
(Palestine/Berlin,Germany) | pop/folklore
RASHA HILWI is a Palestinian writer, journalist and a mother of twin girls. She is the co-editor in chief of Raseef22, an Arabic language media platform standing at the intersection of identity, democracy and social justice. Rasha is a DJ storyteller, an artistic form that combines stories and music. In her work she focuses on the questions surrounding “Home بيت” and “Ghorbah غربة” and their intersection with feminism and identity. And when she brings her music set to the stage, She becomes DJ Hilwi, who believes that dancing is the most beautiful way to travel and feel home at the same time.
(Georgia/Berlin,Germany) | rave/industrial
ZUHOUR is a Berlin-based DJ from Tbilisi. She melts rave music with deconstructed sounds from lesser known places, taking an anti-genre approach, she curates heavily charged sets that combine stark industrial elements with interrupted flows and distorted vocals.
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