#5Symposium: Between Local Scenes and Global Markets – New Stories and Alternative Narratives
The symposium taps into the connections and the interplay between African and Afro-diasporic scenes and Western markets and artists, retells the stories of alternative musics in Africa and electronic music in Egypt and highlights different production contexts situated between local scenes and global attention. Films by Jonathan Akomfrah and Otolith Group explore modern mythologies underlying the Black Atlantic connection.
• Cedrik Fermont (Berlin // Congo), Alternative Africa, Sonic LectureThe view of Africa as a country and a homogeneous place where most music sounds the same, most art is traditional, war, corruption and poverty are all over the place is still widely held. In his sonic lecture, DIY-musicethnologist par excellence Cedrik Fermont will illustrate that alternative music in Africa is well alive, from death metal to noise, electroacoustic music to electronica, punk to shangaan electro to electro chaabi to kwaito or kuduro. Alternative Africa is a talk about contemporary musics in Africa, some of their origins, geographic locations, influences – and also about post-colonialism, cultural exchanges, gender issues, alternative cultures, urbanism, do-it-yourself and exoticism of non-Western cultures.• Maha ElNabawi (Cairo / Egypt), The Cacophony of Cairo – A Battle of Narratives, Sonic Lecture
Through her sound driven lecture, Egyptian cultural journalist, publisher and writer Maha ElNabawi will travel through seminal artists, spaces, and events in Cairo discussed in her essay, The cacophony of Cairo – A battle of narratives. Initiated by Goethe Institute, the essay is part of the collective book Ten Cities, which brings together 20 writers across 5 African cities and 5 European cities to present a sociological and cultural study through the lens of dance music and club culture (to be published in early 2018). Maha ElNabawi has co-founded the independent publishing endeavours Mada Masr and Discord Music Magazine and published much of her work in Wire, Guardian, Spex, The National and Mada Masr.• Mahmoud Refat (Cairo / Egypt), Making A Scene – Cairo’s Sounds and Spaces between Cultural Activism, Musical Experimentation and Popular Success, Sonic Talk For many years, Egyptian sound artist and musician Mahmoud Refat has worked to promote experimental and electronic music that stretches beyond commercial pop culture with his independent label 100 Copies Music, a web radio as well as a multidisciplinary festival that takes place in clubs, on streets, in public squares, shop windows and on the roofs of houses in the centre of Cairo. The massively popular trend of Electro Chaabi and Mahraganat has brought Refat international success as a producer and as one of the drummers of festival stars Islam Chipsy & EEK.
• Lukas Ligeti (Irvine / USA), Modes of Collaboration, TalkMusician and composer Lukas Ligeti shares his perspective on transcultural collaboration from the perspective of a Western composer who has a longstanding interest in the encounter of contemporary electronic music’s modes and means with traditional African music.
• Panel Producing Between Local Scenes and Global Attention w/ DJ Marfox (Lisbon // Angola), DJ Lag (Durban / South Africa), Francis Gay (WDR Cosmo / Cologne, tbc), Maha ElNabawi (Cairo / Egypt)
The panel explores the thriving local club scenes in Durban, Lisbon, and Cairo, traces the musics that mark them – Gqom, Batida and Electro Chaabi – and reflects on the influence of the international success of these styles on the scenes where they were born. The panel will be moderated by French radio editor and head of music at WDR COSMO Francis Gay. He has directed key festivals and managed clubs, is currently involved in several side projects related to global pop, and produces around 80 live radio concerts per year.
• The Last Angel of History (Jonathan Akomfrah)• Hydra Decapita (Otolith Group)The Last Angel of History is an engaging and searing examination of the hitherto unexplored relationships between Pan-African culture, science fiction, intergalactic travel, and rapidly progressing computer technology. As one of the most influential videoessays of the 1990s, it has inspired filmmakers, conferences, novels, and exhibitions. The film’s exploration of the creative possibilities of digital video is embedded within a mythology of the future that creates connections between black “unpopular” culture, outer space, and the limits of the human condition. The first installment in a trilogy of film essays, Hydra Decapita uses the imaginary world in the concept albums of Detroit based techno duo Drexciya to comment on globalisation, capitalism, and climate change. ‘Drexciya’ is an underwater country populated by the unborn children of pregnant women thrown overboard during the middle-passage of slave ships across the Atlantic. In this world a new species has evolved through the children who survived, breathing and living underwater as they did in the womb. The constellation of historical and present day episodes within the essay explores the relationship between finance, death, abstraction and language. Introductions and moderation by author and journalist Felix Klopotek (Cologne), who has been an editor at Cologne’s Stadtrevue since 1999 and has published radio features, books and articles in Spex, Jungle World and konkret.See other chapters for bios of Lukas Ligeti (#2), Cedrik Fermont (#4), DJ Marfox and DJ Lag (#’6).