BEIRUT: While millions worldwide are confined in their homes amid lockdown, Radio Karantina, a Beiruti project, is currently gathering musicians, artists, and individuals in self-isolation, who are sharing intimate playlists and podcasts from wherever they are in the world.
Nasri Sayegh, visual artist, actor, and DJ, first went online on March 15, mixing music with film excerpts, words from Marguerite Duras and Delphine Seyrig, and other sound sources such as the infamous Lebanese jingle from the “La vache qui rit” ad.
“Anticipating that this quarantine would last for a lengthy period, and not being able to welcome friends over as I'm used to, I felt an immediacy to open a window from my living room to the world and share music,” Sayegh told Annahar.
However, the enthusiastic engagement with Radio Karantina rapidly grew.
“Radio Karantina's page was beautifully hijacked by different people creating a musical mélange that are like stories and journeys shared from the (dis)comfort of solitude and confinement,” he said.
The only criteria to host a set is the genuine enjoyment of working on the mix that someone wants to share via Radio Karantina, which is open to all types of sound, including electronic sets, kitsch, ambient, and eerie.
However, Sayegh explained that Radio Karantina is not a radio per se nor a space of mere entertainment, but rather “a lieu for people to perhaps introspect and to confront and encounter other imaginaries.”
By Day Two, Jessika Khazrik hosted the radio’s second set from Berlin, as Mahmoud Merjan did from Beirut on Day Four, and Rayya Badran on Day Seven, as well as Ghassan Salhab on Day Eight.
“We’re expecting some sets from Canada, the US, France, and Palestine in the coming days,” said Sayegh.
The radio’s main purpose is to invite people to stay home, for the good of all, and it has two main mottos: “Stay safe and play sounds” and “Stay safe and stay tuned.”
“If there’s a moment to deconstruct and flatten genres and labels, now would be it,” he added. “It is the perfect time to rethink our whole humanity - post isolation, and I hope we don't simply go back to our old ‘normal’ lives.”
One of the impediments facing Radio Karantina is the internet speed and its inconsistency in Beirut despite the government’s promises for a speed-and-data increase, according to Sayegh.
“Music has always been an integral part of society, whether through ritualistic communal practices, times of joy and sorrow, or as a means of expression,” he said.
Radio Campus in the French city of Tours also hosted Radio Karantina’s multiple sets on air.
Listeners can daily tune in on the Radio Karantina Soundcloud page, as well as via Facebook and Instagram under the same handle.
Radio Karantina: From Beirut to the world, and vice-versa
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