Having visited every darn wondrous nation on the planet, we start the sophomore voyage by revisiting the music scene of Lebanon. One of the most musically diverse countries of the Middle East, thus certainly worth a repeat visit – exploring mostly new and obscure Lebanese sounds.
Good people, today is International Human Rights Day, where we step back to look at the progress we have made in our quest for equality and justice on this planet. It’s easy to look at all the problems worldwide, murders and wars, and settle on hopelessness. But in the grand old scheme of things, we are making progress (or maybe more accurately, slowly returning to a state of consciousness that we had reached thousands of years ago, and lost).
And music! Well this is one thing we can count on to inspire and heal the crazy planetarians. For this important moment, I present you with an hour of renegade music of many vibes – sonic proof that the madness can always strengthen our resolve to be more loving and more alive.
Then we switch scales completely and visit the Saudi Arabian music scene, where some artists must hide in secrecy, risking their lives for their art form and their belief in freedom of speech.
National boundaries can be messy, temporary creatures. Towards the north of the Middle East, there is an ethnic group numbering over 25 million that spill over the borders of four nations, estranged by all of their governments. The fall of the Ottoman Empire nearly 100 years ago and subsequent divisions left the Kurdish people without a land to call their own – but the dream of a free and independent Kurdistan has never faded.
The current conflict between ISIS (or ISIL, or now often called Daesh – which is more derogatory) and the ruling regimes of Syria and Iraq holds lasting implications for the future of Kurdistan, and the Kurdish people (equipped with their own army) have thus far been very successful in driving the extremists from their land. The borders may yet shift again.
Music has been the glue that held Kurdistan together through a century of struggle. It’s high time to acknowledge the sublime sounds of hope that the Kurdish have conjured over this dark era. (Heck, Kurdistan even has a pop star). Let music light the way!