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10 Seconds: Fatima Lahham

1. Fairouz - Allah ma’ak ya hawana (0'22" - 0'32")

From Fairuz - الله معك يا هوانا / كان عنا طاحون Allah Maak Ya Hawana / Kaan Enna Tahoun (1974) 7"

"Fairouz inspires me and brings me so much joy every day, so I feel it’s only right to start this list with her. This song is actually very sad, full of the deep grief of saying goodbye to someone you love; but it’s that kind of sadness that however painful has a bitter joy to it.

In the song, Fairouz asks you to remember the lovers who are parting, to remember their love. And so listening to the song is like bearing witness to them. I don’t feel the song is only about romantic love, but also maybe about remembering places you can’t go to anymore, people you can’t speak to anymore, but that you can remember and bring to life through listening and the power of collective and generational memory."

2. Esperanza Spalding, I know you know (2'37" - 2'47")

From Esperanza Spalding - Esperanza (2008)

"I constantly have the bass line to this song somewhere in my head, just on loop as I try to figure out what the rhythm is, feeling it in my body before I even know what’s happening cognitively. There’s something about how the vocals fit (or don’t fit) with the bass line that is brimming over with this kind of wonder and joy, and I also love the complete ease, the sparkle and self-sufficiency that Esperanza Spalding always has when playing bass and singing."

3. Eryn Allen Kane - Sawt al-Hurriya (0'04" - 0'14")

From Eryn Allen Kane - A Tree Planted By Water (2019)

"This song’s title in Arabic translates as ‘the sound of freedom’, and the lyrics and sounds take you to a different world. The 10 seconds I selected describe a bird as ‘a ballad in the chest of an open sky’. The change of rhythm at 0:52ish and the lyrics turning to the violence of colonisation drives the song to an almost breathless end, and the ending question usually makes me go back to the start, looking for the answer…"

4. Shunaji - Red Honey (1'26" - 1'36")

From Shunaji - Midnight Movie (2018)

I first came across this song because one of my favourite artists, Amahla, sings on the chorus. To

me this track is about independence, the feeling that you should have the courage to follow what

you believe to be true. In all her music Shunaji makes you feel like you have the agency to speak

truth to the face of any corrupt person or institution who holds power over you, to allow that

sense to guide your creativity and your dreams."

5. Yaseen El-Tohamy - Supply Me With An Excess of Love’ (Zedny Befart El Hob) (2'38" - 2'48")

From Yaseen El-Tohamy (2021)

"This is quite an overwhelming text. The words address Allah directly, begging for an excess of

love to be granted, for mercy on a heart scorched by a glance of Allah’s love. I find this recording

to be such a powerful musical expression of this excess of love that is ultimately for Allah yet

reflected in our love for everything else in life, sung through the emotion in Yaseen el-Tohamy’s

voice with this familiar rhythm that we lock into, and the reactions of the audience members

forming part of our experience."

6. Arooj Aftab - Mohabbat (4'45" - 4'55")

From Arooj Aftab - Vulture Prince (2021)

"This song is so full of peace. I recently went to hear Arooj Aftab live for the first time at the

Barbican where she performed with Vijay Iyer and Shahzad Ismaily. They didn’t perform

Mohabbat, so when I got home I put it on repeat, and then googled Shahzad Ismaily and read

this interview where he says: “If I sit next to you and I’m purely non-judgmental of what you say

and what you do, and I hold you with a kind of unconditional love and acceptance, does that

allow you to go one layer further toward the parts of yourself that you’ve held at arm’s length?”

I think that’s what I want from my own music-making, and what I want from other musicians I’m

in community with, and he just put it into words so perfectly. Listening to this song does that

too, holds you with that kind of love and acceptance and allows you to just be for 7 minutes."

7. Rim Banna - The Voice, The Fragrance, and the Figure (2'56" - 3'06")

From Rim Banna - The Mirrors of My Soul (2005)

"Rim Banna asks the root of her roots to wait for her in all the places of nature: in the Palestinian

olive blossoms, and in the colour of the butterfly. She tells the flowers, “I’m coming back, so

save my voice, my scent, my shape…’ It’s an intensely spiritual song, one where you feel her

rootedness in nature, the way her connection to her land runs through her veins forever in the

face of the brutality of settler colonisation in Palestine, in the cracks of the rocks and the wings

of every bird, in the unity of all creation. I don’t think you even need the words to understand

intuitively what she’s saying."

8. Antonio Vivaldi - Trio Sonata in D major RV84 (0'07" - 0'17")

From Antonio Vivaldi - Sonata for flute, violin and basso continuo in D major (RV 84)

"Baroque music is one of my earliest loves, and the opening of this sonata is what I imagine pure

joy to sound like in musical form. The flute soars like a bird and the violin is in conversation

with it, while the bass creates all this energy and flight."

9. Sault - God is Love (2'41" - 2'51")

From Sault - Untitled (God) (2023)

"In November 2022, Sault released five password protected albums that could only be

downloaded in a 5 day window, describing it on twitter as ‘an offering to God’. This track is from

one of these albums. I love that Sault are anonymous, don’t do interviews, don’t perform live,

just make these beautiful fresh joyful tracks that somehow exist outside social media marketing

and publicity for what they are. I picked just these 10 seconds but you should listen to the whole

track, it will uplift you."


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