Caraboo Loops

Cassette Letters

September 6, 2020

In this episode researcher and creative producer Fozia Ismail explores the use of cassette tapes in the Somali Community during migration. Through conversations with other artists, archivists and musicians we learn about the emergence of tape, its appropriation by different diaspora communities to send messages to families in other countries, and the ethical questions raised on how these remaining tapes are preserved and used today.

Growing up in the UK, Fozia remembers her family recording on cassette tapes and sending them to relatives abroad. Some of these tapes she later found still remain today, offering a rich and important snapshot of Somali oral tradition and culture before and after the onset of the civil war.

 Fozia also spoke with Wajid Yaseen, artist and director of the sound art research cooperative Modus Arts, about his work Tape Letters, archivist Ibrahim Hirsi about Waaberi Phone, founded to support Somali artists in taking ownership over their music and intellectual property, artist and poet Asmaa Jama about her own families experiences around cassette tapes, and Hainbach, an electronic music composer and performer to talk about Destruction Loops, work which uses sharp or abrasive objects including a scalpel, a boxcutter and sandpaper on tape loops that contained recordings of hateful comments from youtube channels.

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