The aftermath of German world music: Affective dimensions of collaborative cultural productions across Berlin and Beirut

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This article is looking at the way the German world music debate affects collaborative experimental styles and artist-led institution and network building in Berlin. Locating experimenting musicians from Beirut in the de-ethnicised 'freie Szene’ [independent performing arts community] I examine the way experimenting Lebanese, Jordanian and Egyptian musicians engage in friendship-based artist networks across Berlin that privilege sonic innovation and development of new, interdisciplinary aesthetic concepts. This is contrary to the separate ethnicised category of ‘foreign’ or world music that many Palestinian and Syrian musicians find themselves in due to the variety of neoorientalist narratives and anti-refugee, anti-Palestinian sentiments in Germany. Following the growing exchanges between German and Lebanese cultural institutions specifically, as well as adjacent musicians and curators, I argue for the growing social and aesthetic proximity of Beirut’s and Berlin’s free improvised music scenes based on affective labour and, based on an informant’s observation of the space he operates in, ‘labour art’ (Beaini 2022). Reframing diasporic migrant productions in terms of their affective dimensions thus helps to develop a more nuanced understanding of Arab musicianship in Germany. It likewise encourages changing conceptions of experimentalism as practice underlaid with a perceived sense of community, creative agency, and the sensorial pleasure of experiencing sonic uncertainty in artist-led spaces as central values.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationYearbook Song and Popular Culture
Subtitle of host publication Center for Popular Culture and Music
Place of PublicationMünster
ISBN (Print)978-3-8309-4889-6
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • music
  • ethnography
  • affect
  • world music
  • diaspora
  • migration
  • arabic


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