THE MURDERERS of PRAGUE “I am not cheerful,” says Tomáš. “I tell you why. It is my job. It is killing me. I am sick of working like a dog for three hundred dollars a month. So I am thinking I quit medicine. Maybe I become a pimp or open a sleazy nightclub on Wenceslas Square. I will drive a ...

GERMANY'S FAVORITE ARABIC Uncle Tom – Hamed Abdel-Samad - has just come out with a new polemic, Aus Liebe zu Deutschland – Ein Wachruf(Out of Love for Germany – A Wakeup Call).  After such books as Islamische Faschismus(Islamic Fascism) and Mohammad: Ein Abrechnung (Mohammad: A Settling of Accounts), this text aims at instilling in the German public a healthy dose of national pride, necessary, in Abdel-Samad’s ...

Liraz Charhi (42) – or Liraz, as she is commonly known - is a popular Iranian-Israeli singer, who made her musical debut in 2004 coinciding with the kick start of her film career with the flick Turn Left at the End of the World. She takes inspiration from the music of pre-Revolution Iran, in particular the likes of female greats Ramesh ...

**** Nemanja’s Cosmic Disco - from a World Music perspective - isn’t what we’d expect from Croatia – specifically Istria, an historically contested region in the Adriatic, with its own special, mystical/Mediterranean vibe. Throwing together African, Cumbia, funk with a kind of predilection for far-out flower-child-era vocal samples and hippy/trippy instrumental flourishes, it is something that could be produced anywhere ...

**** Readers of Berlin Bazzar may be familiar with Parisian oud player Kamilya Jubran for her collaborative work with Swiss based trumpeter and electro-pioneer Werner Hassler. Back in 1982, while still in Jerusalem, she joined a band called Sabreen, which translates as “Those Awaiting” – an all-Palestinian band, which became the voice of the Intifada. New is that Akuphone has ...

How can someone so outright islamophobic hold a post as integration officer in Neukölln? This is the gist of the current critique by Green and Left politicians regarding Güner Jasmin Balci’s controversial selection. That  Balci (45) had been elected to such a position in such a volatile and ethnically mixed district as Neukölln came as a big surprise to me. I ...

Scene: Friday afternoon on Sonnenallee, otherwise known as the “Gaza Strip”. I am sitting at a table outside an Arabic baklava joint, drinking  a thin coffee out of a paper cup. The sidewalk is hopping with Arabs come from all over to do their shopping at Arabic supermarkets and greengrocers and I am waiting for one the street’s most colorful characters ...

Shortly after the release of his last album, Afropentatonism, I met with vocalist, guitar and bass player, Alhousseini Anivolla at Alexanderplatz for a Berlin Bazzar photo shoot. It was a bright and  sunny day in August. Alhousseini showed up inconspicuously clad in jeans and button-down shirt and spent a good ten minutes changing into his traditional garb, wrapping his head meticulously in a black ...

Over and over again I would hear  the famous date 1389 bantered about. For the Turks it was the date of  a decisive battle on Blackbird Field in Kosovo, which paved the way for their ultimate incursion into the Balkans and their foothold there. For the Serbs, however, it was much more loaded in import – a  date which spelled the end of ...

**** The intimacy of hearing – and seeing - Baba Zula live has lately surpassed the experience of listening to some of their latest studio albums. As time has gone by the songs of Istanbul’s celebrated underground psyche band, seem to get less and less distinguishable from one another.  In all fairness, Baba Zula has always been against the traditional ...

No Fridge (30 min) **** Well-known for his  self-described “crazy global meetings”, DJ Click has lately teamed up with Colelo Identidad Mapuche, a punky-protest group devoted to promoting the culture of the Mapuche, an indigenous folk group in southern Chile, who Click describes as “the Gypsies of Chile”.  Click is most often associated with his electronic reworking of Gypsy music, perhaps ...

“Asia begins at the Landstrasse.”                  -- Prince Metternich In 2017 I made it down to Austria from Berlin for a long weekend in March to research the Balkans in Vienna. I stayed in Ottakring, Vienna’s balkanized 16th Bezirk, interviewed various musicians from the Balkan scene and  found a city that was then, as ever, a gateway to the East. While making our ...

From Budapest to Belgrade is eight hours. You travel along the Pannonian plain; the great plain of Hungary; Transdanubia; the westernmost steppe in Europe; all flatlands and fields, and the heat doesn’t let up in your non-air-conditioned compartment, as you pass by dusty, flyblown  villages with sweep-wells in a sea of wheat and cornfields.  At the border to Serbia a burly ...

In 2001 Ulf Lindemann, who goes by the nom de plume of Dunkelbunt, moved from Hamburg to Vienna. That was his first journey eastward – his first Morgenlandfahrt, as it were. Over the course of the next twenty years he would make countless musical and physical journeys east. The Orient would become his modus operandi. I first got to know Ulf in 2007, in ...