Ahead of our upcoming season, we want to share our most-listened-to episodes of 2020. If you’re a new listener, make sure you don’t miss these.They span from Egypt today to pre-1948 Jerusalem, Armenia, the US, Sudan and Saudi Arabia.
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5. Trancing With The Zars
For centuries in Egypt, Zar was a music and dance ritual believed to heal women from unwanted spirits that possessed their bodies. However, as time went on and ideologies changed, the practice became controversial and deeply feared. And now, it’s mostly gone. As producer Zeina Dowidar explores, this practice, despite its rich history, carries with it cultural and religious complexities that have pushed it out of the mainstream. This episode asks why, and it also asks if perhaps, this healing spiritual power could, in fact, hold some truth.
4. Ugly Truth
Producer Sara Elhassan provides us with the ugly truth: racism and anti-Blackness in the Arab world is common practice and a subject so taboo that many have convinced themselves that it doesn’t even exist. It is in this context that this episode is so important, at a time of denial and looking the other way Sara’s eloquent and personal story cannot be missed.
In this story Producer Alex Atack takes us on a journey exploring the immigrant voices that are forgotten by history. Often however, these voices live on through objects. In this case, a recording of Zabelle Panosian’s performance of a song named ‘Grung’. Recorded in 1917, this song captured the heartbreak of a generation of Armenian Americans in the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide.
In this nostalgic piece, a generational story is revived as we follow the butterfly effect of Zabelle’s beautiful, but forgotten, voice.
2. Jerusalem Calling
Travel through time to the decade leading up to the 1948 Nakba where radio meant prestige, giving rise to what was known as the Palestine Broadcasting Service. As Palestine saw political upheavals, bloody conflicts and power shifts, this very Palestinian Broadcasting Service found itself in the middle of it all… and became a unique capsule of the events that lead up to the Nakba.
In this episode producer Nadeen Shaker takes us on her own personal journey in trying to discover why she felt personally excluded because of her hijab. Here is a little sum up in her own words:
“Outcast started a few years back when I started keeping an audio diary of what I thought were horrible, discriminatory encounters I was having as a result of my hijab. I always told myself that I had to do this story for Kerning Cultures. (…) In this piece you will follow my journey as I talk to women, historians, experts, people in real estate and hospitality as I learn more about what has changed.”