In the face of daily violence and massacres delivered in near real-time to our phones, musical artists are finding ways to find one another and be named. Compilations in solidarity with Palestinians take on a new urgency — as a way to weave threads between people.

“We will find one another” is a phrase I’ve heard echoing in Berlin, at a time when some powerful state institutions and German press outlets have worked to silence and shame any criticism of Israel’s violence against Palestinian civilians. (That’s a topic to investigate in another piece, but … you may have heard already.) This business of compilation then becomes potent, because just being named as an artist is meaningful. No less than Laurie Anderson wound up out of a guest professorship at Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen because of signing a letter with thousands of other artists.

I know so many people in tears every day, so many people despairing by their phones. In that state, while still feeling the need to take action and not give into grief, there is only music and one another.

I don’t doubt for a second the motivations of so many people here – only a ceasefire ensures safety of civilians across the region, for return of hostages, for return of Palestinian prisoners, for any hope of working toward a solution other than this catastrophic status quo. I’m frankly personally horrified at the ongoing complicity of the government of the country where I live (Germany) and the one I hold a passport from (the USA). It’s difficult to even do my job, because my job depends on treating people like human beings first.

Whichever government you can contact, whichever institutions you can ask – please do that now, and ask for a permanent ceasefire. (I know this site has readers everywhere.) There’s not a whole lot more to discuss there; this is the consensus of every aid and human rights and relevant policy organization I can find. You can read, for instance, the SOS plea from this week from the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention.)

I hope the music at least makes our readers feel stronger, less alone, and more able to act in empathy with others, to end dehumanization and stop enabling violence.

By any means necessary

These compilations are essential as solidarity as well as emotional refuge. I mentioned it in passing, but the massive compilation RESIST COLONIAL POWER BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY with some 94 tracks is a must. It’s funny because the tracks are ordered alphabetically by artist, but there’s even a feeling of a narrative, even if it was an accident of letters.

Palestinian artists rub shoulders with international artists from all over. Some of this is itself significant – to uninformed western audiences, it may seem obvious that Lebanese and Kurdish and Iranian artists join with Palestinians, but so much of this solidarity is the work of recent generations to come together across deep rifts.

Anyway, just to needle drop – we’re celebrating the production debut of the wonderful Falyakon (here mixed and “sonically optimized” by Muqata’a, so a double Palestinian effort). She’s been prolifically mixing and sampling live lately around Berlin.

Dakn collaborates with Hiro Kone in this haunting track, which on this gray day feels like it can make our souls work again.

A case of that alphabetical genius – it’s followed by this achingly moving track by Dawuna. I have to admit I didn’t know Dawuna, but then I haven’t lived in New York since 2011 – a Maryland native, by way of Nairobi to NYC. And it’s so personal.

Or there’s this densely rhythmic, spectacular track by Rojin Sharafi, speaking of Iranian-born artists. “Coping” seems just the needed title, and it has that anxious complecity.

Go listen to the full compilation, though, please – here with an explanation of what it supports (as with all these here, I hope we can remain transparent). I hate music press that picks up big compilations and just name-drops the familiar names – yeah, being absolutely certain that sometimes I’ve been the writer doing that. Let’s find some artists we don’t know – especially at a moment when expanding webs of solidarity is so important.

Several conversations led to – how can we find other such efforts? (Rojin, I think you even asked that.)

Women* of Noise collected a number of compilations with an emphasis on fundraising, as I wrote about previously:

Meta compilation and more arrivals

While we were gathering more, AATMA (Anti-fascist Art, Techno and Music Alliance) is way ahead, with a “meta-compilation” – and a compelling case to see the larger timeline. (AATMA is “an open alliance that was formed as an emergency response in Berlin in October 2023.”)

They promise to regularly refresh the list (weekly even):

The history of anti-colonial solidarity with Palestine through music is long and profuse. Since the 1950s, musicians and artists have been coming together from all around the world and redirecting their labor to create channels of mutual aid for Palestine through participating in compilation albums and organizing/playing in solidarity events. Whether that is in recent months during the ongoing genocidal assault on Gaza, the attack on Sheikh Jarrah and Gaza in 2021, the 70-year memorial of the Nakba in 2018 or the attack on Gaza in 2014 and the Second Intifada of 2001-2005, and so on.

This interconnected commotion, trans-continental empathy and urgent, long-standing solidarity has encouraged AATMA ✦ عتمة to initiate this series. The first part of this meta-compilation focuses on culling releases from the last decade. The meta-compilation will be updated on a weekly basis, so please stay tuned as more is yet to come! We deeply encourage you to listen and buy this music in support of Palestine. AATMA ✦ عتمة also believes that this music can support each of us in processing our rage and grief while strengthening our common volition and multi-generational world commitment for a FREE PALESTINE!

AATMA has also published a collective solidarity statement and call to action.

The selections include the freshly-released Dedicated to Palestine, out on Belrin’s Stray Signals (which is also doing an event series and had an event paired with the compilation). At times it literally echoes with the sounds of the protests:

This compilation is dedicated to Palestine.

Looking at the oppressive political climate in Germany and the structures of racialised policing that enable it, we urgently recognise that, in whatever we do, a commitment to anti-colonial and pro-Palestinian politics must be upheld. This is how we can cultivate an effective anti-fascist movement locally and internationally.
We stand together with the Palestinian people against the genocidal aggression of the Israeli war machine and its enablers.

We will be donating all revenue raised from this compilation 50/50 to the NGOs ‘Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost’ and ‘Palästina Kampagne’. Both organisations are doing important work, from planning demonstrations to panels, as well as providing legal support for all those affected by the state led censorship and oppression.

www.juedische-stimme.de
www.nakba-ban.org

One more not on the list but which I think deserves some attention – and an example of eastern / nonwestern Europe coming together with African and Asian colleagues – from Prague (and Ankali) there’s this lineup:

For months we have been witnessing genocide and violence against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Our community is based on values of solidarity and empathy and we cannot and won’t stay silent. Thus we are releasing under the ‘Transmission for Palestine’ project, native to our home club – Ankali. Our effort is to raise awareness of the struggle and suffering of the Palestinian people. We believe in anti-colonialism and freedom of the Global South from Western imperialism.
Free Palestine 🇵🇸

All proceedings from this album will be donated to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund and Middle East Children’s Alliance.

www.pcrf.net
www.mecaforpeace.org

Updated: here’s a beautiful compilation from 2021. Fittingly, the image is from UNRWA.

New mix, new release

Assyouti, who’s on the Transmission for Palestine, also recently shared the DJ set they played for AATMA – see additional links for aid, for those with treasure to share. This should wake you up, at least:

played at AAMTA on 20/01/2024, somewhere in Berlin
a 12h trans-generational club assembly dedicated to communal solace, collective unlearning and transformative regeneration.

– Palestine Red Crescent Society (www.palestinercs.org/ar/donation)
– Taawon (www.taawon.org/ar/content/بالعزة-تصمد-غزة-0)
– Medical Aid for Palestinians (www.map.org.uk)
– Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (www.pcrf.net)
– Middle East Children’s Alliance (www.mecaforpeace.org)
– Sanabel Team (www.givebutter.com/the-sanabel-team)
– Palestine Humanitarian Response (www.gofund.me/af0724b0)

I want to close with a new album that seems to have been mostly missed, from Palestinian artist BOUNCYDUCK – more on this soon, it’s on my relisten program now!

Keep the music coming; it’s much appreciated. And thanks to everyone helping spread this music through multiple platforms.

Previously: