The scale of the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria is hard to conceive, atop ongoing crises in the region and world. Tens of thousands have died, more continue to die, and millions are now homeless across the territories of the two countries. With music scenes intertwined with those places, responding is essential in any way we can.
Today is Bandcamp Friday, so it’s doubly a good day to check the music releases, as they all benefit funds that reach everyone impacted. (I can personally vouch for the transparency and connections to the communities for those I’ve highlighted.
Out on Brighton-based Phantom Limb, re-LEAF is curated by Turkish-born, Berlin-based artist Hüma Utku and Sinemis – aka Sine Büyüka of the London/Istanbul Injazero Records. This one features international artists like Eomac, KMRU, ABADIR, Tegh & Adel Poursamadi (dealing with their own crises in Iran), and Rojin Sharafi, plus the likes of Berlin-based, Turkish-born improviser and experimentalist Korhan Erel. It benefits Ahbap NGO, which has been one of the best organizations for reaching everyone impacted.
Recommended; many of these folks have been organizing from the start – thanks, Hüma:
Istanbul’s Müstesna Records has already released volume I of a multi-volume set from a diverse band of contributors. I’ll paste their whole text, as it’s representative I think of the feelings behind many of these efforts (it’s also in Turkish on their site):
On February 6, 2023 Turkey and Syria were struck by two massive earthquakes (7,7 – 7,6 on the richter scale) in one day. The severity of the earthquake, the size of the area, the demographic and the large number of people being caught unprepared, combined with the harsh weather conditions, dramatically heightened the effects of this disaster. Since then a lot of local and global efforts have been put together to gather and transfer urgent help to the area, however these efforts are unfortunately inadequate in the face of the size of this catastrophic event. In a bid to help our country and its neighbours, Müstesna Records (TR) have decided to put together a relief compilation in collaboration with Ransom Note on their Dance Music From Planet Earth compilation label (UK).
As of now 48 artists from around the globe have contributed some of their beautiful work. The compilation will be released in two parts with the first part shared on Wednesday 1st March. If we all unite as music listeners, nightlife enthusiasts and all those in between, we will be stronger in size and strength.
Music brings us all together, regardless of our geographic location. We hope that everyone falling under this roof believes in sharing beautiful collective memories, as well as tragedies.
Please help us support the ones who believe that they are part of a global collective family so we can come together on better days…
The money raised from this campaign will be donated to birkirabiryuva.org/en/ (TR) and Molham Team (Syria).
These are again trusted organizations based on the Kurdish, Syrian, and Turkish folks I’ve been able to talk to, at least and this is a transparent and heartfelt effort connected to many of the musical communities who feel this crisis – again, recommended. Thanks, C-drik:
Geneva-based label Les Disques Bongo Joe has a record of working with Turkish artists inside Switzerland and internationally – “[it’s] part of our label DNA, it all started with Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek, then came Altın Gün, Lalalar and recently Oldu O Zaman.” They were one of the first with a compilation in response. I do hope they update this with specifics on the NGOs; here’s the music – thanks, Zuri:
Lastly, this compilation comes from Africa/LatinX-focused, Paris-based label/web radio Radio Chiguiro, benefiting French NGO Alliance Urgences.
Today is also International S3x Workers’ Day, as well. That makes this addition an important one. Solitype have put out donated original type designs on a variety of causes, as covered here before. This is a sound investment in great independent design servicing real needs.
This time, they have turned their attention to a group experiencing neglect atop neglect in this crisis.- s3x workers and LGBTQIA+ folks. There are horror stories in this already terrifying narrative around these groups.
I hope to see some of these fonts on the cover of your future releases. It’ll be a nice additional cue to solidarity.
One last shout to the independent Chams Network, who I talked about shortly after the earthquake (thanks to connections in Beirut). They have been not only reporting needs, but some of the results of donations and continue to run relief operations.
If we’ve missed any, if you have stories to tell or resources to share, or needs, please get in touch and I’ll update this list.
Previously (and a good start if you want to just donate directly):