If you don’t yet know Deena Abdelwahed, might we recommend that you start getting familiar with her work as a DJ? After starting out in Tunis as part of the World Full of Bass collective, Deena went on to Toulouse to play with the Arabstazy collective. She met the InFiné team in 2016, quickly securing a range of tour dates from Concrete - of which she is since the resident - to Boiler Room, Villette Sonique, Wet for Me, CTM (“Hail Mother Internet“), Room for Resistance, Saüle (Berghain) and Rewire Festival. Deena undoubtedly put Tunisia on the electronic music map. But it would be off-topic to categorize her on the basis of her origins alone: Deena is the archetype of a globalized generation of internet natives for whom borders are an outdated concept. This self-taught musician also didn’t wait to have her knowledge delivered to her on a silver platter.
What Deena wants is to discover the sound of the future, regardless of geographic origins all are welcome to the mixing board. Her DJ sets throw open the doors of her research laboratory, on the razor’s edge of club music and avant-garde, where only as-yet-unheard rhythms on the outer reaches of sub-cultures are allowed to come and play. The foundation for this future that she is building is a wake-up call, an alarm call even, tuned to break the pathological indifference ravaging our jaded times: novelty and audacity are required to get even a shot at a place in Deena’s transgender, hybrid playlists. A human and artistic sincerity that is without fail feeds her work as a composer, which should be distinguished from her DJing endeavours. Because while the DJ draws from all that the world has to offer, it is the inner landscapes that her composer alter-ego explores. Traces of the history through which Deena built herself as an artist and a person are thus uncovered: a self-construction made of frustrations and constraints, borne of retrograde mindsets which are not the prerogative of either the East or the West, she tirelessly strives to expose and break down.
This album synthesizes a new tipping point between North and South, a post-revolution response from a connected generation that is in the process of emancipation; the decline in influence of the West, but also of the patriarchy, a new decolonization… Deena is the figurehead of a new world order of musical creation. «Khonnar» is the manifesto of a generation that does not seek to please or to conform, which pushes our backs to the wall, and is abruptly taking back control of its identity, with all the inherent losses and chaos.
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