Morocco-born and, since 2009, Berlin-based, ‘ud virtuoso and music educator Alaa Zouiten is among the more than 135,000 Arab-identifying residents of the city helping make Berlin one of the world’s hottest centers of creative arts. Zouiten cites the fusions in his own music as Moroccan, Amazigh, African, Jewish, North African and Andalusian.
A musical wave has been swelling for a decade in the German capital, which one local analyst now calls “the city of choice for a new generation of cultural talent from the Middle East and North Africa”—part of the greater demographic shift that has made people of Arab backgrounds Berlin’s fourth-largest ethnic-identity group. In street jams, clubs, studios, concert halls and online, new mixes of musicians are blending notes and ideas into genre-bending, transcultural fusions.
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