words by Daniyaal Khan
The Baghdad born DJ / Curator based in New York has programmed music and performed as a DJ across North America and Europe, with residencies at The Lot Radio and Half Moon radio. She is currently the curator of Satellite night series at e-flux Bar Laika and recently released a compilation of tracks with friend and collaborator 'The Bergsonist', featuring some of her favorite artists from New York on Bandcamp Friday. With 50% of the proceeds going towards the rehabilitation of Black Trans lives, Sanna Almajedi and her label partner, DJ Bergsonist are leading 3afak in our common ethos of giving back.
With multidisciplinary expressions of art coupled with activism, DJ Sanna is working towards a progressive movement of identity and inclusion by providing a platform for arab and other POC communities, while carefully mediating between art and sound. She is at a place where music is meant for impact, with the impact being as loud as the music itself.
We spoke to the DJ and curator about her work, dream collaborators, her favourite art exhibit in 2020 and which artist she'd listen to for 24 hours straight. Scroll down to read.
What is something not many people know about you?
I don’t wear pants, only sweat pants if I’m chilling at home or working out otherwise I only wear skirts and dresses. I haven’t worn a pair of jeans since I was 15 or something. It’s very obvious but people don’t really notice…
Assuming that COVID disappears tomorrow, who'll be performing next at your Satellite series at Bar Laika?
Debit and 51717! We had to cancel their show because of covid.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest project 3afak and how it started?
I met Selwa on her birthday five years ago. We were introduced by other mutual friends through music and we’ve been supporting each other since. 3afak started in June 2019. We wanted to form our own thing because we had been indirectly working together for a while and thought it was cool that we came from similar-ish background.
3 musicians or artists you'd love to collaborate with.
Makimakkuk, princess nokia, ari lennox, Celia Cruz.
If you had to listen to one of these artists for like 24 hours straight, which one would it be?
Sonic Youth (she answered Sonic Youth!!)
A Tribe Called Quest
As a POC DJ and curator living in New York, what's your go-to advice for young BIPOC creators looking to find their own in big cities? What's one thing they must do and one thing they should watch out for?
Find like-minded people your age and grow together.
Can you tell us a bit about 3afak's new compilation?
Selwa and I wanted to expand 3afak so it’s more of a music and community platform rather than just a party. We want to continue doing different type of projects that reflect our interests without putting pressure on ourselves to produce but rather let ideas organically take shape over time. I think putting pressure on yourself to constantly produce new things is a really toxic capitalist mindset. It’s also good to just take a step back and do nothing.
Favourite places to hang out in New York?
The lot radio, east river park amphitheater, the essex market before they renovated it, my friends Mohammed’s place, wus wonton king, bluestockings, Sephora (lmao), and so many more places...
Favourite art exhibit in 2020?
I liked seeing Omar Amiralay work Al-Dajaj (the chickens) as part of the take me back Artist Cinemas series on e-flux
Lastly, any creator, project, brand, cause or charity you'd like to shout out?The okra projects!
DJ Sanna's WIP Radio mix drops on our Mixcloud channel this Friday. Stay tuned.