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Global Music Column – August

Deena Abdelwahed – Jbal Rrsas

Since the release of her debut album Khonnar in 2018, Tunisian DJ and producer Deena Abdelwahed has been on a mission to recontextualise popular music from the Arab world. Her productions draw on everything from the maximalism of Egyptian mahraganat to shaabi wedding songs and dabke folk rhythms, while adding shape-shifting bass and the metallic textures of electronic drum programming to create foreboding tracks for the dancefloor.

Throughout Khonnar, she combined traditional percussion such as the bendir frame drum with thumping techno kick drums and distorted melodies, while 2023’s Flagranti EP ramps up the tempo by blending arpeggiated synths with samples of high-pitched darbuka percussion. It is that artful combination of darkness and danceability that gives Abdelwahed’s work its signature.

Read the review in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 18/08/23]

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