Listening to Sampling

The module ‘Listening to Sampling’ was developed by the artists Yara Said and Zgjim Elsahani, and cultivates an understanding of the history and techniques of electronic music sampling.
Said and Elsahani wanted to create a sound and sampling workshop for everyone, especially young people and up-and-coming artists, to give them space to experiment, learn and engage with sound, as sound plays an important role in our daily routines. 

From social media to art, literature, and music, sound has become an important meeting point for many different cultures and backgrounds. Sound is accessible to everyone without following a particular agenda or any borders. Sound is democratic. Said and Elsahani wanted to bring this sound of democracy to many people to teach them to practise sound in their own way. 

The collaborative module ‘Listening to Sampling’ is based on sampling because sampling creates easy access to instrumentalization, and many important cultures and movements started with the act of sampling. Sampling is also a budget-friendly practice. The module empowers participants with no experience in sound design to create their own sound projects by helping them to prepare a basic studio setup (including working with audio interfaces, laptop, microphones, instruments, and recording equipment) and providing basic knowledge of the sound software Ableton. The module offers more experienced participants in-depth mixing and production techniques, such as working with delays, creating stereo depth in compositions, and importing and exporting audio files. Information on the history and politics of sampling, and its wide influence on musicians and sound artists, is also included in the module.

This manual for the module ‘Listening to Sampling’ is intended for workshop leaders and educators who would like to teach the module themselves. It provides information on how to guide a group of adolescents in making experimental beats, simple melodic sentences, and rhythms with a DAW (Digital Audio Interface). It provides a detailed time table and structure for the workshop.
​​Yara Said and Zgjim Elshani gave the workshop ‘Listening to Sampling’ from 17–19 October to young asylum seekers, aged 17 – 20. The workshop was organised in collaboration with IMC Weekendschool in Amsterdam (NL) as part of their On Tour programme. The size of the group varied a little with between 15 and 18 participants taking part each day. The participants learned about the history and politics of sampling and its influence on musicians and sound artists. They also familiarised themselves with recording sound and acquired a basic knowledge of Ableton, enabling them to create their own sound project afterwards.

Yara Said is a multidisciplinary artist based in Amsterdam. Also known as Noise Diva, her practice unfolds in different media, such as video, sound, painting, performance, installations, writing, and DJing. Said is interested in documenting noise in urban structures, and is committed to understanding how sonic acts can be used both as terror and as liberation mechanism. She takes inspiration from industrial noise, the breath of the city, shouts, hugs, death, (non)linear disrupted narratives and emotions in relation to trauma and grief. For her, noise is connected to otherness. Offering a female gaze on a topic that is saturated with imagery of blood, cries and turmoil, she hopes to open an honest and caring space for understanding current global injustice. She holds a BA in Painting from the University of Damascus, and a MA in Fine Arts from Sandberg Instituut. Said is the co-founder and artistic director of Salwa, an organisation from Amsterdam that develops programs for artists with a migrant background.


Zgjim Elshani graduated from the graphic design department of Gerrit Rietveld Academie and received an MA in Design from Amsterdam’s Sandberg Institute. He is the co-founder of Angry Youth, a collective, club night and label formed and operating in Kosovo since 2012.


photo: Zsolt Szederkényi
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