I've been living in Greece, translating Farsi to English for Iranian and Afghan refugees who live in anarchist squats. I'm thinking and writing about movement, displacement, art, and passports. Recently, I ran into visa issues and got kicked out of Europe. "Visa issues." That's the kind of terminology people with powerful passports are allowed to use. The people I translate for do not have visa issues. They sell everything they own and hit the road. So my American passport means I'm back in Chicago, upright, a little offended, and planning next steps.
The forced break gave me a chance to go through some of the old RMI hard drives and put together this clip of footage from documentaries past, present, and future. The music is by Ulaanbaatar's own Bodikhuu. Images come from Diyarbakir Turkey, Burma, Mongolia, Ukraine, Iraqi Kurdistan, Cambodia, Thailand, Trinidad, Kenya, Western Sahara, and more.
There's a lot coming from Raw Music in 2017. We're finalizing work on a series of vinyl releases of Kenyan guitar music, including an album by Raw Music favorite Olima Anditi, a new compilation of music by George Mukabi, and a compilation of field recordings I did with the surviving members of the Kenyan Omutibo movement during my trip across Western Kenya last year. I'm excited about these releases because the music is incredible, and because we put in a lot of work into tying the songs back to the specific culture and context from which they arose.
We've also got a feature length film about GROUP DOUEH, the most beloved band in the occupied territory of Western Sahara. We were there last summer for the wedding of Oulaya, Doueh and Halima's eldest daughter. A week of music and cooked meats, dancing, colorful clothing, love, family. I feel warmth when I think of it. It's also really special on a personal level -- I shot it with my partner Brittany and one of the people I look up to most in this strange music game, Hisham Mayet of Sublime Frequencies.
So that's what's up over here. What are you up to?