Deena Abdelwahed is Using Music to Address Arab Socio-Politics

The Tunisian DJ is re-appropriating regional music

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From Fauzia Habib to Karrouhat and Bedouin, electronic music has never been jockeyed harder in the region than it is now. From Beirut to Dubai, the region’s biggest parties have long-been dominated by trap music and afrobeats, but thanks to a new wave of talent, the Arab music scene has shifted.
Take Toulouse-based Tunisian DJ Deena Abdelwahed for example – the 30-year-old is considered to be one of the most experimental, and highly-regarded DJs working in the electronic scene right now. 

Born in Qatar, Abdelwahed moved back to her native Tunisia to pursue music, joining the highly influential Arabstazy collective before moving to France, where she released her first EP Klabb in 2017 with InFiné. 

Following production credits on Fever Ray’s Plunge, Abdelwahed released her second record Khonnar last year, which was met with critical acclaim. All of the tracks were written and produced by Abdelwahed, except Rabbouni, which was co-produced with Edu Tarradas with backing vocals by Abdullah Miniawy. 

As well as producing and releasing her own albums, Abdelwahed has been spinning records everywhere from Concrete, Boiler Room, Säule/Berghain, Corsica Studios and Room for Resistance. With upcoming events in Montreal, Moscow, Krakow, London and Mexico, her widespread fame is only reflective of the quality and innovation of her music.

Working largely with Arabic rhythms and composing Arabic samples with synths, computer and drum machines, Abdelwahed attested to Resident Advisor, “The purpose of working only on the Arab side in my productions is because I consider it “research” for how I can re-appropriate Arabic music and confront what was imposed to us (locals in Arab regions) as only national popular music. It is my artistic choice here to bring up or express my disappointment and my personal feelings about what is going on socially and politically in the Middle East and North Africa region.”

At MILLE, we cannot wait to see what Abdelwahed does next.

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