Ten Cities: Public Sphere, Urban Space, Club Culture

10 countries, 2 continents, 3 disciplines, 22 concerts, 10 photographers, and 23 authors


Whether it’s in Nairobi or in Kyiv, in Bristol or in Cairo: in all the major cities of Africa and Europe, people get together in dedicated spaces to dance to music and party – and create communities, subcultures and public spheres. Club culture is a global phenomenon, but what music are these people dancing to in these cities and what music did they use to dance to in the past? In what sort of spaces do they meet up? What public spheres do they form? What do these club cultures mean to the urbanity of a city? And what happens when the club music from two different continents meet head on? We will look at ten cities on two continents that have been influential centres for club music up to now: the European cities of Berlin, Bristol, Kyiv, Lisbon and Naples and the African cities of Johannesburg, Cairo, Luanda, Lagos and Nairobi.

Ten Cities is a journey of musicians and writers. It consists of a music- and a research part. The project brings together about 50 DJs, producers and musicians from the ten cities, enabling them to cooperate and produce music together. This part is guided by ten local curators in each city who have chosen the participants, together with a central curatorial group in Berlin and Nairobi, and are facilitating the cooperations. Intensive work periods by the participating musicians in the ten cities will form the central stages of the project, accompanied by concerts and parties. At the same time, a research project will use the perspective of club cultures to explore and investigate again a crucial notion of political theory: the public sphere – from a different perspective than the usual research tradition and in a serial, intercultural approach. About 20 authors, all from the city they are writing about, will tell us the history of club music in those ten cities, and the history of the public spheres that have been formed around club music for the last 50 years. More content will be published on this website, among others: city portraits by our musical curators, free downloads, mix tapes, photography and visual content. In addition, we will screen film series with a selection of documentaries and feature films on club culture in different parts of the world, in most cities, in cooperation with the local Goethe-Instituts.



Soundway Records, along with the Goethe-Institute and Adaptr.org, present TEN CITIES a new compilation including, amongst many others, the likes of Bristol dubstep producer Pinch, Lisbon-based producer Batida and Kenyan group Just A Band, TEN CITIES is set for release on 10th November on CD, 3xLP and digital.

Between Autumn 2012 and Spring 2013 the TEN CITIES project brought electronic music producers and musicians from five cities in Europe (Berlin, Bristol, Kiev, Lisbon and Naples) to five cities in Africa (Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos, Luanda and Nairobi) They were invited to collaborate and create, spending an intense time together making music in sticky studios and blacked-out rooms across the African continent.

Ten Cities put together approximately 50 electronic music producers and instrumentalists from the ten cities selected. They were invited to collaborate in studios over the course of more than six months. A selection of the outcome of these cross-continental experiments can be heard on this record.

It’s no surprise that the results are far from what many would term ‘World Music’ and its often generic mixture of aural clichés, where all too often African music (as with that of the rest of the planet) from Mali to Madagascar, and from Morocco to Malawi is all filed under one ridiculous, meaningless genre.

Ten Cities attempts to do something quite different: whilst searching for common ground it is also trying to highlight the differences. As a result hip-hop from the squats of Naples, bass music from Bristol, experimental techno from Berlin or jazz-tinged deep-house from Kiev are thrust upon the pumping kuduro of Luanda, the free-thinking crackled electronica of Cairo, afro-jazz from Lagos or the Sheng street-slang of Kenyan rap.

An album launch show will take place in Berlin at Ritter Butzke on 7th November featuring 23 of the producers involved in the project.

http://www.ten-cities.com // http://www.soundwayrecords.com


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