Freedom Anthony Hamilton, Elayna Boynton
This song gives me energy and peace everytime I need it or stumble on it (courtesy of some algorithm). The raw beat, powerful baseline and crescendo chords put me in an atmosphere where hardship is defied by beauty and wit, releasing all kinds of blue feelings, it’s sad and hopeful all in one.
Barbara is one of my favorite singers/performer ever, at the same level of Jacques Brel (en passant), so a lot of her records could go on this list. I’ll share Göttingen because the story behind it is one of peace and shows how Barbara is a true free spirit: “”Göttingen” also recorded in German, has been credited with having contributed to improved relations between France and Germany in the years after the Second World War.
As a Jewish child, Barbara had been a fugitive in German-occupied France during the war, but in 1964 she accepted an invitation from the University of Göttingen to perform, and composed the song in honor of the town’s charms.” (Little wiki parenthesis).
Blade Runner OST Vangelis
With headphones on, lights out and laying on a bed, maybe after a heavy night dancing, the sounds of my first encounters with electronic music through a cosmic trip. (rolling and lighting one recommended).
Boom biddy bye bye (Fugees remix) Cypress Hill and The Fugees
Cubans meet the Haitian, perfect combination. (Cassette smuggled by my cousin from Canada to Syria, melted from rewinding and replaying this track).
In My Room Chinese Man
Excellent production, perfect for my ears to get my rhythm and my soul going.
Ooh La La Goldfrapp
To get up and get something done, to dance in the kitchen or while cleaning the whatever. Energy, style, dirty bass and groove.
Aghadan Alqak (Will I Meet You Tomorrow) Umm Kulthum
Umm Kulthum is the Queen of Arabic music. After hours of listening and producing electronic music, listening to this song resets my ears and soothes my brain.
Magapay Angelina Dimitriou
This one is a kitsch package, video and music = time machine. It only made the list after a thread on a childhood friend’s wall about all the random songs that were hits in Aleppo. Sometimes, Aleppo felt like a planet apart, and we would listen to what would get to us from planet earth.
Summertime Janis Joplin
I feel she sings it while longing for summer in the middle of the winter. Her voice is like a full inside-body massage. There used to be a video with the song taken from the animated film “American Pop” that is excellent, but it seems it was taken down from Youtube.
Boshoco – Semsem (Sinchi Music)
Syrian born and raised duo Boshoco land on Sinchi with a new track that samples the first-ever Arabic Sesame Street, and comes with remixes by Damon Jee and Shubostar. Once again this is a non-profit release, this time raising money for Syrian NGO Jusoor, which is made up of Syrian expatriates who build bridges between the boundless potential of young Syrians and their opportunities for education, entrepreneurship and global community engagement. Boshoco’s sound is playful, energetic and dark, and recalls nostalgic elements we all have in common. They grew up getting music on bootlegged cassettes and CDs from local musicians in Aleppo and met whilst working in a camp for people displaced from their homes. Together they moved to Turkey and became residents in Temple club in Istanbul and now, given the restrictions of movement on Syrians, they had to split, with half of the pair getting political asylum in France and the other moving to Beirut and continuing to work remotely. Say the pair of the track, “‘Semsem’ (like the name Boshoco, a cheap ice cream we both used to eat in Aleppo as children), with the children singing, the heavy baseline, the mystical mezmar solo and the energetic beat, is an homage to the little pretty things that made life sweet in Aleppo and to the heavier emotions that came to it with time.” It is a darkly intoxicating tune with a meandering bassline and plenty of exotic instrumentals that transport you to another world. Damon Jee is first to remix and his music can be heard on the underground’s most sought-after labels including Roam, Hafendisko, Suara and Sincopat to name just a few. His version is a more rugged affair. The dark disco vibes pervade with snapping drums, while moody synths and arps rain down from above in sci-fi fashion. Hailing from South Korea, Shubostar has been immersing herself in the ever-evolving underground scene of South Korea and Thailand and now Mexico. Her common theme is ‘cosmic’ and since 2018 she runs her own uju Records with Korean painter Daryung Kim. Her remix is full of prowling late-night energy and dystopian synth work. Splashing cymbals and a grinding bassline all help make it a
brilliantly alluring affair.