Kieran Hebden performing at a Syria relief concert in 2015. (Photo: Matthew Baker/Getty Images)

Remember back when we thought 2016 was so sad, because all our favorite celebrities kept dying? Now that we know that last year was but poor preparation for the implosion of democracy, we have to fight the creep of fascism however we can. British musician and producer Kieran Hebden, a.k.a. Four Tet, created a Spotify playlist with musicians from the seven countries included in President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders that have become known as the Muslim ban. The playlist itself isn’t new, but in the last couple days, Hebden began adding songs to it from musicians from Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, and Libya.

One of the artists included, Omar Souleyman, is a Syrian musician with whom the U.S.-based Hebden has previously collaborated—a collaboration that might not have been able to happen in Trump’s America. Hebden, speaking to The A.V. Club over email, said that he wasn’t previously familiar with most of the music, and started with the Smithsonian’s Folkways catalog:

I went [there] because it’s a label that I love, but also because, given the circumstances, it seemed interesting to me that one of the greatest archives in the world of folk music from these countries is in America. And that reminds me that Trump’s policy does not fit well with American values as I have come to know them.


He said he had been “watching what was going on, [which] suddenly gave me the idea to try and show people some of this music. I see music as a good way to find common ground and connections with other cultures.”


[via Passion Of The Weiss]