Yara Mekawei is a Cairo-based electro-acoustic music composer and sound artist. Her work explores urban environments, focusing on the philosophy of architecture and space. Beyond sound art and music, she is also a video artist and performance artist. She runs a Cairo based studio, called Submarine Studio, which hosts residencies for international artists, such as Turkish producer R.A.N.
Mekawei has recently embarked on a new project: Radio Submarine. It is an online broadcast program of sound art collages from different African cities, that streams live around the world. As Mekawei put it, "my mission is to create an online radio that will allow the different sounds of Africa to travel to the rest of the world."
The content of the podcasts is varied. It focuses on playing alternative and electronic music from the respective cities, also incorporating field recordings from urban environments; urban sounds, languages, and daily activities that shape the soundscape of the destinations. Finally, it ropes in an interview with a musician or music writer from each city, to educate the audience about the local music scene and the context of what they are hearing.
The idea for this radio show came about through Mekawei's many travels around Africa, recording the soundscapes of each city she visited. She discovered the unique musical histories and underground cultures of the different cities, and was "inspired by these endless layers of the sound of Africa" to make an international podcast "not only to let others listen to a different sound of Africa, but also build a kind of speaker of these different cities no one has heard from before."
Mekawei calls this concept "city mic." Thus far, she has published two shows, naturally starting in Cairo and moving next to Algiers. She is currently working on Johannesburg. Though she currently lacks the proper financial support to build up her own radio, she is collaborating with a friend's station, Transformatorio, from which she broadcasts every Sunday. This is later posted to her SoundCloud page.
This gives us something to look forward to every Sunday…which if you're in Egypt you know is a big deal.
Learn more about Yara Mekawei on her website.
Follow Submarine Studio on Facebook.