On Fri., Feb. 3, the independent music distribution platform Bandcamp will be giving 100 percent of today’s proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union for their legal efforts to support immigrants and refugees currently targeted by an executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen.
Bandcamp has been joined by over 400 artists and small labels donating their Bandcamp proceeds to the ACLU and a variety of other organizations, including the Nigerian Muslim Association of New York, Right to Remain, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and more. In a statement accompanied by selected albums from Bandcamp artists based in each of the targeted countries, founder and CEO Ethan Diamond writes:
Bandcamp may be incorporated in the United States, but we host artists from every corner of the world. We believe that knowledge and empathy are crucial weapons against fear and intolerance. As another way of showing solidarity with the immigrants and refugees from the seven banned countries—as well as those impacted by the construction of the Mexican border wall—we’ve compiled a list of albums made by artists from the affected countries. We hope that, as you listen to these albums, you’ll not only discover some great new artists, but will also gain a further appreciation and understanding for the way music transcends all borders, and remember that, even in the darkest of times, there is more that unites us than divides us.
We encourage you to check out Bandcamp’s list, and we’d like to offer a few suggestions of music from some of the countries on the no-travel list, including some artists we’ve featured over the years, available for purchase on Bandcamp:
Alsarah and the Nubatones, Silt (Wonderwheel Recordings)
Alsarah is a musician and ethnomusicologist based in New York City. You can read an excellent post on vintage Sudanese pop music by Alsarah here.
The Lost 45s of Sudan (ShellacHead)
A compilation of rare recordings from the Golden Age of the Sudanese recording industry. For another perspective on Sudanese music, check out our program “Sudan: A Musical History of Conflict and Diaspora.”
Dur-Dur Band, Vol. 5 (Awesome Tapes From Africa)
Beautiful ’80s Somali pop from one of the biggest bands in Somalia. The founders are now living in the U.S. The album was reviewed here.
Malitia Malimob, ISIS
Guled Diriye and Mohamed Jarato are two Somali MCs currently based in Seattle, WA, making gangsta rap about the immigrant experience. Learn more here. Also, check out our Hip Deep program “Reconstructing Somalia: Love Songs at the Birth of A Nation.”
Born in Iran and based in the Netherlands, alternative r&b artist Sevdaliza released this song in reaction to last week’s executive order. In her own words: “In protest of the inhumane political climate, I could not rest my head in privilege. I wrote ‘Bebin’ in Farsi, to solidify. I stand strong with love. In this case I choose to avoid mainstream media, because I have no interest in part taking in a victimized concept. As I will not be able to travel to the United States for indefinite duration, take this without lights, camera, action. I am solely a messenger. In the brain of love, there is no place for racism nor bigotry.” Libya
Ibn Thabit, Tripoli is Calling (Beats4Change)
Ibn Thabit is a protest rapper featured on a compilation by the Beats4Change organization.
Ahmed Fakroun, Nisyan
Born in 1953 in Benghazi, Libya, composer and signer Ahmed Fakroun is widely considered a pioneer of Arab world music. His soulful and disco-inflected rai songs continue to captivate audiences around the world.
Omar Souleyman, Jazeera Nights (Sublime Frequencies)
The Syrian wedding singer extraordinaire, Souleyman, had a concert lined up with the World Music Institute at Le Poisson Rouge in May, but now he may not be able to perform, despite having traveled to the U.S. 16 times before.