IVAN ARZOU FROM BIG WINDOW So, you are from Armenia? No, I am from Isfahan. I am from Persia.  I was born in Iran.  When I was fourteen years old my parents sent me to Calcutta.  I was in a boarding school seven years. An Armenian boarding school.  And then I came back to my parents in Tehran.  They were living at that time in ...

It’s been said 47Soul is a band that is “rooted in the Palestinian Diaspora”. Surely “uprooted” would be more to the point.  47Soul, which consists of Tareq Abu Kwaik, Ramzy Suleiman and Walaa Sbait lives in exile in London and thrives off of a global network of dispossessed Palestinians and their sympathizers. The sound is a new one, blending traditional ...

Interview with Muhammad Qundous from Qarar band.  When I think about bands that represent "our area”/Palestine/Israel/ how ever you wanna call it, I think about Qarar. A non-profit project which was formed by Muhammad Qundous: a teacher, musician and community figure in Jaffa. He writes original songs dealing with the Palestinian narrative, past present and future and specificly the story ...

Moğollar – the Mongols – were the original  Anatolian rockers and coiners of the term “Anatolian Pop”. Back in the late sixties and seventies when Americans and Europeans followed the hippy trail east through Turkey, Afghanistan to India, Moğollar was the first Turkish act on the scene to hew out a place for itself blending Anatolian folk elements with Western psychedelia,in ...

Birol Ünel (18 August 1961 – 3 September 2020) is dead at 59. His death is not exactly breaking news. He died  three months ago of cancer. I found out about it only now, and I can hardly believe it. Kreuzberg barfly, disheveled rabble-rouser, man possessed – an only slightly less extreme version of his lead role in Fatih Akin’s ‘Gegen ...

A GERMAN-EGYPTIAN MEMORY OF EDWARD W. SAʿID Edward Said loved music, and I loved his love of music, as well as the musicality that characterized everything, he did. Teju Cole, "A Quartet for Edward Said," from Black Paper  (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming 2021)[1] [1] I thank Teju Cole for providing me with this script, and Roni Mann for her comments on an ...

PRAGUE It was 1992. Communism was over and I was in Berlin selling computer games at the PX with private Ricky Ruez from the Bronx. The base was closing and all the Americans were going home. Business was slow. I was sprawled out at the till doing the crossword in the Herald Trib while Ricky sat at the computer terminal ...

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 ...

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 ...