Musical cry from Manchester to the Middle East: MUSLIMGAUZE

In this article, I wanted to talk about the universality of music. Staying away from definitions, I thought I should start with Bryn Jones, someone who has been able to do what universal music is with her soul, conscience, voice and struggle.

The story of such an interesting musician is hard to find. This young man, who made experimental, eclectic and electronic music under the name MUSLIMGAUZE, was born in Manchester on 17 June 1961. His interest in punk music and the German bands of the 70s eventually led him to Electronic music.

The 60s coincided with a period in which musicians who would still be considered cult and irreplaceable were growing up in Great Britain. The Beatles had already begun a major musical transformation in Liverpool, just beyond Jones' birthplace. This period, which would also be called the "British Invasion", put an end to the hegemony of music in America. The Beatles, The Who, the Rolling Stones, The Animals were just a few of these bands.

Born in such a colorful and musical atmosphere, Jones drifted much farther away from this mainstream music climate with different agendas and styles, and turned his eyes and hearts to the Middle East, a land that no one has ever seen, never seen or gone to. When asked where his music is influenced, he will answer "From nothing, only now."

He already meant 1982. Israel made a military move against the region in order to disarm the Palestine Liberation Organization led by Yasser Arafat, which was in Lebanon at the time, and to expel its leadership from Lebanon, and entered Beirut within a week with a lightning operation. There were historic scenes such as the famous massacres in the Palestinian refugee camps in Sabra and Shatilla, and the deportation of Yasser Arafat and all the leaders of the organization to Tunisia. This, of course, was one of the "ordinary, never-ending messes of the Middle East" that would be silent and taken for granted for the world.

Yet all of this was going to be the masterpiece of Jones' music. His interest in the rights of the other and the injustices he suffered had sociological and psychological reasons. The Middle East, which he had never visited and therefore always remained a "repairable" dream in his head, was as if the terrible dispossessions and ungranted rights of the Palestinians corresponded to a personal wound or shadow in Jones' own life in the west.

His successive albums were titled "The rape of Palestine", followed by "Abu Nidal", which was later named after a Palestinian resistance fighter, and "No human rights Arabs in Israel". After a while, the issue came out of the Middle East and began to concern all Muslims who had suffered injustice in the world. "Muslims in China" "Muslims Are Dying in India" continued with the albums "Islamic Songs". On the track "I shall sing until my land is free", a Palestinian woman was singing, and some of the songs included an Istanbul prayer. Oriental instruments and cries embedded in electronic music, rhythm, darbuka... He was trying to make music ahead of the age with the most primitive methods that rejected innovation and without taking advantage of the conveniences of the computer environment.

The lyrics in his albums have not yet been found in the work of a Muslim musician. This radical defense was raised to the skies in every Arab or Muslim resistance on a world scale. "Muslimgauze records are provocative and almost theatrical forums for a proper understanding of Middle Eastern culture"

"The political realities of the Middle East have an impact on Muslimgauze music". Likewise, the same radicalism persists on the album covers: Arabic calligraphy, a Muslim with blood in his eyes, a Palestinian boy who was shot, and even a picture of Ayatollah Khomeini on the cover of the album Hajj.

Because of this rebellion, he knew that he would never find the fame he deserved in the flora he was in. Still, he would say, "What matters is my shouting, not who will hear it." We can say that all this complexity is based on a single suggestion – everything that is against Israel.

When Jones died of an unexplained blood fungus disease at the age of 37, Jones was a manufacturing factory that had left behind nearly 100 albums. His music, whose only clarity was anti-Israel, was not a genre that appealed much to the people he advocated. But every person who loves electronics and the ambient is still amazed by Muslimgauze's genius.

Every time I listen to it, I nostalgic smile spreads across my face and I close my eyes with a grateful nod of my head. Everything is as you left it, but no one is as sensitive as you.

Article by Şule Demirtaş
This article originally appeared on the Karar Music Blog (October 12, 2022)
Translation with the assistance of Bing Translate.

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