Musical Heritage Mirath:Music

Mirath:Music | Photo (detail) © Goethe-Institut e.V.
Mirath:Music is a regional touring sound exhibition of the Goethe-Institut in the region West Asia, North and Northeast Africa that was developed by musicians from Algeria, Sudan, Tunisia, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan.

Instead of trying to outline the historical developments of music in the region, this exhibition takes an experimental curatorial approach that aims to give an insight into the musical diversity of the region, without attempting to be representative. Using the individual takes of participating artists on musical traditions, and playing with musical elements from different times and places, Mirath:Music considers cultural heritage as something that is alive and preserved through continuous and ongoing development.

The production of Mirath:Music was realized through an artist-driven approach. In April 2021, the participating artists met in an online workshop to discuss various aspects related to musical heritage in the region, exchange ideas, and develop a unifying concept for the exhibition. At the end of the workshop, the artists decided to allow for a diversity of artistic approaches in dealing with musical heritage and working with different musical traditions to which each of them personally related. What connected their ideas was a shared experience and an understanding of their musical heritage as being deeply embedded within the socio-political context in which they live, often – moreover – tied to their peoples’ quests for freedom, recognition and self-determination, as well as the expression and preservation of their unique cultural identities. Uniting them was also their own personal vocation as artists, who try often to give voice to their own selves and their peoples’ struggles in various contexts.

The results of this work and production process are 14 tracks, in which each artist worked with his or her own musical heritage in very different ways, developing the archived or borrowed material further in their own musical compositions. In addition, a commonly produced track brings together and reflects the artistic and musical diversity present within this exhibition.