Youth of the Future ( شباب المستقبل ) is a mixtape curated from a Qatari perspective consisting of 50 opening song tracks from cartoons and anime originating in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. The songs, mostly from French, English and Japanese programming, have been dubbed into Arabic, and in many instances have been completely recreated with Arabic musical influence. The songs feature regional vocalists and use traditional instruments and analog synthesizers.
Many of the tracks derive from the company ‘Spacetoon’, a pan-Arab free-to-air television channel specializing in children programs, headquartered in Damascus and Dubai. Although the company officially began in 2000, its roots go back to the 1980’s using fus’ha, or Arabic dubbing, to distribute anime in the region. The broadcast shows were prolific across the Middle East and North Africa and said to have “educated, nurtured and instilled values” to an entire generation of children growing up in the 1990’s and onward, at times referring to them as “The Youth of the Future”.
The programming played two important roles. One, the television shows connected children in the region to a wider global outlook, for example, the life of a young girl in Japan (Chibi Maruko-chan, 1990). Two, the dubbed tracks emphasized the importance of the Arabic language during a time when spoken English was becoming popularized (de facto lingua franca) in many Gulf countries.
The tracks on this mixtape were extracted from various online resources, including footage from vintage VHS tapes that have been reposted on Youtube by fans, enthusiasts and Spacetoon archives. The collection of songs has been curated by Roudah Alsheeb with assistance from Fatima Aldosari, digitally composed and edited by Michael Hersrud and produced by Sonic Jeel. The cassette tapes are duplicated at Analogue Media Technologies Inc. in Ontario, Canada. The project is designed by Roudah, Fatima and Michael, and RISO printed by Roudah with assistance from Hagar Allam at the VCUarts Qatar Fablab.
You can listen to the full cassette on our Sonic Jeel Youtube: