voices of north africa

Khalas mixtape cover art

Last weekend I heard On the Media‘s conversation with Abdulla Darrat, co-founder of the Libyan group Khalas (translated: “enough”). They had just released an online “mixtape” featuring some of the rap and hip-hop artists whose music has been the soundtrack of street protests in recent weeks across North Africa. I went to the website the interview had mentioned, downloaded the project’s 12 songs and cover art, and I’ve spent the last couple of days listening to the compilation’s many powerful voices.

Tonight I tried to revisit the same site (enoughgaddafi.com) and discovered that the site’s URL was a dead link. Deactivated, gone. I don’t know why, or what happened. I can tell you that as of  just a few hours ago, the Guardian was reporting that Libya was under a complete news blackout as protests continued in Benghazi and other cities. It’s hard to say if that site and its creative contents will ever be available again. I can only hope that its disappearance speaks to the news blackout, not some worse circumstance for its creators.

Since you may not have the same chance I did a couple of days ago to download the music of these rap and hip-hop artists, I’m going to do two things: first of all, I’m going to play that entire 12-song “mixtape” on Monday’s World of Music. You’ll be able to hear it streaming online from 3-5pm ET at www.theradiator.org, or via the regular radio at 105.9FM if you’re in Burlington, VT. Second, so we don’t have to wait that long to hear a few of the artists, I’m posting links below for some of their videos.

Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Iran, Syria, Libya, Algeria – who’s next?

These are interesting times.

And now, at the very real risk of landing myself on someone’s (everyone’s) no-fly list, here are some videos you have to experience. These are some of the very real, very NOW voices of North Africa. This is what revolution sounds like:

from Algeria: Lotfi Double Kanon’s “America” (since I can’t find a video of the song featured on the Khalas mixtape, here’s another one by the same artist):

from Libya: Ibn Thabit’s “Lookin’ For Freedom” (again, not the very same song on the mix tape but a strong one nonetheless):

from Egypt: Ramy Donjevan’s “Ded El 7kooma” (“Against the government”):

from Tunisia: El Génèral’s “Rayes Lebled”:

This is the mission statement that appears in the cover art provided in the Khalas mixtape download:

“Khalas Mixtape Vol. 1 is a compilation of songs created by North African hip hop artists from Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria who have emerged as voices of recent uprisings and calls for protest. Mish B3eed, or ‘Not far,’ refers to the sense of solidarity that these youth feel across borders, the similarities of their causes and the oppressors they face, their physical proximity and the sense that our ultimate goal is within sight. Each song describes the unique circumstances of each artist’s country, carrying with it the subtleties of local dialects, but also highlights the extraordinary similarities of their struggles.”

And here’s a story the BBC’s “The World” also did on the Khalas mixtape project.

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3 Responses to “voices of north africa”

  1. Longborder Says:

    Thanks for what you do. Since the net has gone down in Lybia it is great that this music is still available to the world!

  2. Cheryl Says:

    All thanks go to the brave singers and protesters making real change happen, often at unimaginable personal and societal expense. If they make music – I will play it. Change cannot be repressed, it will always persist to touch the sunlight.

  3. Roseanne Says:

    Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a
    quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your blog posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with
    the same topics? Thank you!

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