"We want to make electronic, typically Berlin DJ sets that are distinctly Arabic," says Petkovic. "None of this cheesy Arabic disco, but really Berlin – electronic, modern, cool. There are so many more Arabic people now in the whole of Europe, especially Western Europe. So it's natural there is a need for this kind of music."

Petkovic's partner in the DJ console is Rafi Gazani, a flamboyant half-Syrian, half-Palestinian trained engineer and now DJ in Berlin."Originally I came from the Gulf area," says Gazani. "I came from there to here and I started to discover a new career. I found art. I realised I had these creative skills. So I started to dig in my soul."

Combining Balkan and Arab beats

"Balkan and Arab music is very similar," says Gazani. "It's like it's connected somehow. It makes sense to bring Balkan and Arab music together. I have this feeling we can mix it together. I studied the history of Balkan music in Germany. The refugees and immigrants from the Balkans, from Romania and Serbia, they came up here bringing Balkan music with them. Now it's happening with the Arabs."

Just like Bosnian refugees in Berlin faced racism in the 1990s, the current political climate – with the rise of far-right parties like the Alternative for Germany (AfD) – makes the situation difficult for Syrian refugees trying to find their place in the country.

"Life on this planet is all about migration, man," says Soko. "We are all permanently migrating, ever since humanity has been defined as such.  We are migrating. We are migrants. It is a never ending story."

And so Soko has a message to supporters of the AfD and their ilk: "Change happens. It's just a matter of how you deal with it. We dance."

Robert Rigney

© Deutsche Welle 2019

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