Whenever I visited my grandmother in Istanbul, Aksaray, I simply had to check out the scene on Istiklal Caddesi.  Mostly, I walked there. Back then there was no tram and I didn’t really fancy taking the bus. So I walked past Istanbul University, where my mother studied, then either through Kapalı Çarşı (Grand Bazaar) or past the Sultan Ahmet Cami ...

“Nothing passes Schöneberg 30,” raps Schöneberg rap star and Lokalmatador Alpa Gun. It’s just a couple of blocks, but  between Kleistpark and Kurfürstenstrasse, Yorkstrasse and Pallas, stretches an embattled Schöneberg neighborhood which is as ghetto as Berlin gets. Home to generations of Turks and Arabs, the neighborhood is currently fighting rising rents, junkies and ever growing prostitution scene. Schöneberg 30 ...

I grew up in deep West-Berlin, right where the city peters out into suburban villas and pinewood forest, on the outer fringes of Wilmersdorf. This was as far away from the “ghetto” as you could get.  The real so-called “ghetto” – by Berlin standards – lay elsewhere, in those mean,  grey immigrant streets of Wedding, Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Schöneberg, where the ...

I am sitting with my mother on the top of a double-decker bus in Schmargendorf. It is night and the streets are wet with puddles of glittering lights and autumn leaves, and I am eating Chinese rice crackers.  This is my first memory - a Berlin memory – a memory of a city I would come to love and hate; ...

Several new and upcoming re-issued records feature the sound of the African thumb piano mbira, from traditional to contemporary. And in at least two cases, Berlin plays a special role in the current popularity peak of the mbira sound among musicians, DJs, labels and music lovers.    The mbira is a member of the family of thumb pianos or lamellophones that ...