Cultural Reads 63: Berlin Secrets, African Music Library & Muwashshah

Hi Everyone, 

Welcome to the Cultural Reads Newsletter with book, music, and movie recommendations from around the world.

In this week’s newsletter: Muwashshah, Top 2023 Songs, Berlin Secrets, African Music Library, Christmas Gifts, A Prophet & Open Veins of Latin America. 

🎤 Protecting What You Love (Syria)

Today, a unique interview with Syrian Muwashshah singer Khaled Alhafez!

Khaled fled the Syrian war and lives in Belgium.

His life’s calling is protecting the music he loves, which is on the brink of extinction. 

Find out why and check out all the interview’s video snippets in the interview!

🎵 My Top 2023 Songs (Spotify)

You probably have seen that Spotify published everyone’s top 2023 songs.

For me, it’s been the year of the desert blues and chill hip-hop.

You can find my top 2023 songs here.

🌍 The Best Berlin Souvenirs & Tips

I recently met Carlos from The Free Tour Shop. 

He’s an experienced free-walking tour guide specializing in souvenirs from European cities!

Carlos is originally from Spain but has been living in Berlin for years,  so he decided to share all his favorite spots, souvenirs, and books & movies from the city. 

Check them out here.

🎧 African Music Library (Africa)

Kenyan musician Udulele recently told me about the African Music Library, an interactive database of artists and music genres from Africa.

My favorite is the short 2-minute African genres quiz.

Despite my love for music, I got it almost all wrong.

Will you beat me? 

🌳 Christmas Gifts To Connect

Are you looking for a unique Christmas gift?

Try these talking cards for better connections with your family, friends, and spouse. I love these 3 (in that order). 

1. The Skin Deep (Instagram)
2. We Are Not Really Strangers
3. School of Life Card Sets 

You can also find all of them on Amazon. 

📽️ Un Prophète (France)

This French classic from 2009 got a Golden Globe, an Oscar nomination, and almost an eight on IMDB.

The story revolves around Malik El Djebena, a 19-year-old French youth with Algerian heritage, who’s sentenced to six years in prison for assaulting police officers.

Within the confines of the jail, a powerful faction of Corsican mobsters controls the prison and its inmates.

Initially preferring solitude, Malik is coerced by the mobsters into committing a murder. Reluctant to engage in criminal activities, he gradually becomes entangled in a world that captivates his interest and stirs his curiosity.

📕 Open Veins of Latin America

If you are interested in Latin America, read this book!

Through gripping stories, Eduardo Galeano takes you on a trip through the continent’s tumultuous past. 

This history, starting with the Spanish colonization and destruction of indigenous civilizations, helps you understand South America’s economic, political, and social contexts. It’s especially helpful if you work with Latin America. 

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