Palestinian multi-instrumentalist and experimental DJ Falyakon has long been an inspiration to anyone who’s met her – for her energy, her vision, and the depth of feeling and activism threaded into her music mixes. We were fortunate to have her in the Refuge Worldwide studio over the weekend, in a mix that says what no opinion piece or social media post can.

I seriously look forward to the day when we just enjoy each other and each other’s music, and there isn’t the cloud of violence hanging over us. I’m just posting people whose music I trust and love, and it’s actually painful to me that there is this crisis as the background.

But Falyakon is also someone who mixes music that brings together sounds of resistance, from Palestinian music like producer/rapper Muqata’a and Arabic classics to American progressive voices like Camae Ayewa (a.k.a. Moor Mother) and the Irreversible Entanglements project. (Don’t miss “Chicago to Texas,” put out by a Chicago label.) She’s able to connect Palestinian and Black liberation, and all liberation, effortlessly and in an improvisational mode. (This mix was definitely improvised; she didn’t know what she’d play beforehand and told me she didn’t remember after. It was even on a borrowed laptop when her laptop failed. But that playlist-free spontaneity might be what we need right now.)

I don’t know that music always needs a political text; sometimes, it’s liberating emotionally. But when times are dark, it matters more than ever to be able to process human experience. So, if music feels meaningless in the face of that, that can be a way to come back to meaning.

This is the mix from Saturday (sorry, no track listing yet – so, actually, dig, see if you can trainspot, and discuss in comments, please!):

And her bio:

Falyakon فَلْيَكُن – is a multi-instrumentalist and DJ based between Palestine and Berlin. Falyakon breaks the rules of mixing in multi-layered, genre-defying, erratic sets, that express what being free truly means. She is controlling time and distorting structure by warping rhythms and morphing tones in a journey filled with distant memories, interruptions, and projections of what is to come. 

You can also listen back on her past Refuge appearances:

For those who do not know, today Israeli tanks opened fire on a crowd of hundreds who were waiting for a relief truck. This is why the current situation in Gaza goes beyond anything I’ve written about before. As elsewhere on this site, this is a reality to which our friends and colleagues, our music world, is connected. It’s not a “political” topic – it is personal for the people we care about. But what makes it now different is that even talking about humanitarian aid has become truly irrelevant, if starving people can’t even receive that aid, and are massacred in the rare instances it is getting through.

For so many in our community, there’s no music until there is a permanent ceasefire.

These stories bring it home for me, at least:

Journalists including those from the BBC are asking for Israel and Egypt to lift restrictions on access by journalists into Gaza; see BBC’s report.

We have an added obligation here, as many of us live in and have citizenship in countries that have blocked aid to UNRWA, the United Nations agency that might be able to feed and support Gazans. Our governments have also failed to pressure Israel to allow in food. It’s hard to even sit down to lunch these days and not reflect on that, for me, at least.

In Berlin, it’s as likely I’ll see folks I know at protests in the next couple of days as at music events. A broad coalition of organizations will join a mass-protest Saturday with Global South United. And a growing group of Berlin-based Israelis are continuing a weekly demo tomorrow Friday, calling for permanent ceasefire.

Music and music technology are celebrations of life; we need to stand with our friends and colleagues in defending the value of life. So it makes sense that this is part of our lives and practice, in whatever way we’re able to find.

For their part, Berlin-based Refuge Worldwide has regular coverage of news stories and contextualizes the music they feature with the news around it. For instance, there’s their regular ICYMI series:

My various POST episodes and guests you can also find archived on Refuge’s site, if you need some music:

If you have more to share, please get in touch. Thanks for the music, Ami.