As selector El Corazon she spins records as a way to communicate through sound. Her sets explore music unbounded, and music as transcontinental form and connection. El Corazon evokes curiosity in the possibility of horizons of sound. Atiyyah Khan started collecting records more seriously when co-founding music collective Future Nostalgia in 2013. The collective is a platform to bring ‘collectors, selectors, deejays, and diggers’ together and hosts regular vinyl listening sessions around Cape Town. Her sets explore various sounds including dub, cumbia, jazz, funk and music from the continent. Over the last five years, Future Nostalgia has established its name playing gigs all over the city from small underground events to large scale festivals.
In December 2017, Atiyyah took on the role of sound artist working with the afro-futurist Zimbabwean dancer-choreographer, Nora Chipaumire. Their work is titled 100%POP and will premier in New York in October 2018. The performance involves creating a live sound-clash, by layering sounds using turntables and digital sources drawing from various music references, with Grace Jones as a jump-off point and incorporating sounds of dub, Thomas Mapfumo and noise music.
Atiyyah Khan and Zayaan Khan are two South African scholars and artists based in Cape Town, whose work explores various avenues of identity through music and food respectively. Their research interests gives prominence to Islamic heritage and culture. Their work is often site-specific and is approached with a DIY-ethic.
Khan & Khan are the inaugural Artists-in-Residence of the Africa Open Institute in Stellenbosch, they are inspired to occupying spaces in unusual and maverick ways. Their research will include but is not limited to, exploring ideas around Islamic roots and identity, Pan-Africanism, Arab Africa, Indigeneity, History, Memory, Mapping and the Politics of Shame. These ideas will be explored over the course of their residency, by digging into archives and researching various sources from sound studies to mapping techniques and recipes long forgotten.
Atiyyah Khan was born and raised in Actonville, the Indian township in Benoni, on the East Rand of Johannesburg, and Zayaan Khan was born into a Malay community in Walmer Estate, Cape Town. Their different cultural perspectives, religious upbringings and experiences have provided a solid foundation for their ten-year long friendship, remixing the challenges of their backgrounds with a sense of brazen humour, to articulate its uncertainties.
Through the music collective Future Nostalgia, Atiyyah has zoned her creative focus on record-digging and collecting music from Africa, and re-shaping what we understand as ‘African Music’. Zayaan works with land and food as a connector, and through storytelling, opens up ancient ways of knowing into further practicality.
Together their interests collide in the practice of sharing ancient futures. Khan & Khan will work through mapping and sound to express the journeys of their ideas within this AOI Sonic Residency. Other themes for investigation include – land, death, roots, shame within a hyper-specific-locality. towards a repatriation of self, of land, of faith, of religion.
This Residency will culminate in an event in February 2019 where their findings will be shared in a multi-sensory experience in order to create a space of convivial sharing, listening, feeling and knowing.
The following scans of printed work and photographic slideshow accompany the mixtapes produced by Zayaan Khan and Atiyyah Khan.
Sonic Residency Write-Up
‘Rotations of Bismillah’ is a sonic zine mix, consisting of a selection of sounds I’ve pursued an interest in over the last few years when digging + spinning in DJ sets. An all-African mix, recorded on wax.
The purpose is to explore further & deconstruct what we mean when we talk about “African” music, & also connect deeper the tradition of music in Islam on the continent. There are various field recordings and records used from across the continent including Gabon, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Somalia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Niger, Guinea, Gambia and more.
The mix works as an accompaniment to a zine titled ‘Bismillah’ of archival material (assembled from collaged record covers) and poetry, printed on Risograph at the Chimurenga Lab in Cape Town.
These sounds form a major part of work done (with researcher Zayaan Khan) as the first recipients of the Sonic Residency hosted by the Africa Open Institute (AOI) at Stellenbosch University, South Africa in 2018 – 2019.
*Translation to poem by Abu al-Qasim ash-Shabbi which is sung in the mix at 32:08 by Hedi Guella et Hamadi Boulares.
To The Tyrants of The World
Imperious despot, insolent in strife,
Lover of darkness, enemy of life!
You mock the anguish of an impotent land
Whose people’s blood has stained your tyrant hand,
And desecrate the magic of this earth,
sowing your thorns, to bring despair to birth,
Patience! Let not the Spring delude you now,
The morning light, the skies’ unclouded brow;
Fear gathers in the broad horizon’s murk
Where winds are rising, and deep thunders lurk;
When the weak weeps, receive him not with scorn—
Who soweth thorns, shall not his flesh be torn?
Wait! Where you thought to reap the lives of men,
The flowers of hope, never to bloom again,
Where you have soaked the heart of the earth with blood,
Drenched them with tears, until they overflowed,
A fiery storm shall suddenly consume you,
And a bloody torrent sweep you to your doom!
-Abu al-Qasim al-Shabbi / Aboul Qacem Echebbi