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Friday Mixtape

Music in Exile

by Rachel Devitt

Music in Exile

About this playlist

We all know that struggle can often produce some of the world's most moving, memorable music. Pain of all kinds (personal, political), it seems, is often most poignantly expressed through song. Particularly, music can speak to the pain of exile -- from one's home, one's culture, even one's family. Or perhaps more accurately, musicians are often able to speak to the loss and pain that comes with exile -- a point that is not lost on dictatorial regimes, which have often specifically targeted musicians.

From Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars to Celia Cruz, K'Naan to Caetano Veloso, artists across genres and across the world have been made refugees and exiles by untenable or unstable political situations in their own country. In turn, they have served as a conduit through which refugee experiences are conveyed and expressed, a globally transmitted voice for those who are given no platform on which to speak, a beacon of hope for the dispossessed. And the result, along with sharp social critique and political awareness, is often some of the globe's most gorgeous, vibrant music.