Episode 4 — Sounds of Home:  Nostalgia & Discovery  

رنين الموطن: الجزء الأول و الثاني  නිවසේ ශබ්ද”          
Cassie Hoeprich
Akana Jayewardene
Ru’a Al-Abweh

Listen on Apple Podcast, Podbean


As we adjust to the global pandemic of COVID-19, we find ourselves looking for ways to access the familiar, something that has become unreachable. This has allowed us to get to know that which is in closest proximity, that which is reachable. We depend on tangible portals (namely, digital ones) to experience our unreachable homes and walk through the abstract portal of forced adjustment, which has led some of us to craft a new notion of home.

Friends around the world are simultaneously grappling with their understanding of home. This collective pondering, when spliced together, reveals the transcendent nature of our individual portals. Sound has an incredible ability to capture these daily moments. Together, the sounds of our homes forge portals, like a dynamic journal, allowing us to enter into each other's moments of longing for and exploring “home.” 

This auditory portal, Sounds of Home,  is two-fold. In Part One and Part Two of Sounds of Home, global sounds of nostalgia and [re-]discovery have been curated and compiled into two sound collages.

These collages have been assembled in a format akin to a stream of consciousness, allowing the listener to become immersed in sound and travel through portals of nostalgia and [re]discovery that span the world.

What we hope you observe as you listen to these sound collages is the varied interpretations of nostalgia and [re]discovery. With context from the footnotes, you’ll find that there are a great deal of similarities in how people across the world conceive of home. If you are able to listen to Part One and Part Two, you might discover that nostalgia and [re]discovery are interchangeable for some people. Bird songs  and other echoes of nature in particular conjure up nostalgia for some, and others, they are cherished discoveries.

Concluding this post are a set of Footnotes for Part One and Part Two. These Footnotes outline the featured clips in each collage, where they are from, and a grounding statement from the person who recorded the clip or an interpretation of the clip by the authors of this project.

Part One: Nostalgia for the Familiar and Distant  الحنين إلى المألوف و البعيد

The pandemic is a portal second, and a border first. Many of us are not only trapped in our homes, but also trapped outside of our homes and homelands. This pandemic brings to light the undeniable truth that thousands are faced with closing portals every day, and it familiarizes for many of us the feeling of a closing portal; the green card that never comes, the visa that’s denied without cause, the flight prices that are just too steep, the trains that are on strike, the place of work that won't allow time off.

A return to “normality,” whatever that word means, has become not only a pipe dream, but could also be a mistake to long for. Reopening closed portals may no longer be possible. To spend time focused purely on a return, a reopening, would miss the opportunity to reassess and reevaluate. Perhaps it’s more productive to consider the creation of new portals where previously there existed but a yearning and a need.

Sound has the uncanny ability to open portals.  Whether a song we take comfort in when first heartbroken, or the sound of a mother’s anklets in the late afternoon; the sound of a vendor announcing fresh greens for sale at 9am every morning or a grandmother yelling across the garden inviting us to tea -- these sounds all conjure Home.

This is a compilation of the sounds that make up Home, and conjures nostalgia for home, while at the same time soothes a longing for home. Nostalgia often occurs in waves, catching us off guard and often without warning. This sound collage is sequenced in a similar fashion, where sounds occur in waves, sometimes seamlessly melding together and at other times in juxtaposition with one another.

Part Two: [Re]Discovering Home  إعادة] إستكشاف المسكن]

A friend to nostalgia may very well be discovery. Many of us remain curled up at home and locked in a smaller version of the city or town we live in. This has encouraged curiosity and created space that allows us to focus on overlooked facets of our everyday life.  Daily moments that may have once seemed unremarkable now warrant investigation and reflection. In some cases, this curiosity may feed our loneliness or quel disorientation.  It can also reveal beauty, or questionable realities about the place we call home.

In contrast to the waves of nostalgia, this sound collage mimics the course of the day. The collage begins with sounds of the morning, and ends with sounds of the evening. Despite the distance between our collage contributors, our daily epiphanies strikingly mirror one another. Taking a moment to listen to the bird song outside of our windows is happening in Myanmar, Azraq Camp, and Chacahua, as is the shared appreciation for the drumming of summer rain.

Greater depths of discovery are happening as well. Buildings are burning in Minneapolis, revealing a mere glimmer into the pain and rage experienced by the loved ones of George Floyd and the Black community of the United States. Tears and prayers from Black activists are filling public square across the world, bringing protests and riots yet again to the streets of Los Angeles. And familiar sounds, seemingly innocent like that of an ice cream truck, gain new meaning, proving how systemic racism and oppression ceases to unfurl itself, like ivy, into every crevice of our lives.




Old Lady Says Hello

Sultan Abotayeh
Azraq, Jordan
The Hajjeh (elderly woman) wanted to send her wishes to Ru'a who she really missed. The Hajjeh used to see Ru'a everyday and tell her about Azraq in the old days and her memories of it.
.الحجه حبت توصل سلامها لرؤى إلى كانت كثير مشتاقتلها بعد ماكانت تشوفها كل يوم وتحكيلها عن الأزرق ايام زمان َوذكرياتها فيها


Rain and a Lullaby

Vasudhaa Narayanan
Bangalore, India It started to rain today, and I felt emotionally pulled to sing this lullaby by Shahida Khan - it is about a mother singing to her baby falling asleep on a home-made cloth swing.


Drums on the Streets of New Orleans

Randy Carter
New Orleans, Lousiana, United States As I took my nightly walk on the streets of New Oreleans I heard the beautiful sound beats of a drum. I followed the sound that let me to this street.


End of an Era at Sound Commons

Randy Carter
Civic Center - San Francisco, California, United States Being back in Sound Commons reminds me of how people can find so much peace and quiet, even in chaos.


TV at Lunchtime

Filomena and Margherita Fittipaldi
Rome, Italy TV news at lunch has always been a background sound covered by the loudness of my family. During quarantine it has become more of a tense moment, becoming the protagonist of the scene.


Thunder Storm

Lee Bazalgette
Carmarthen, Wales What's more nostalgic than a thunder storm? (Feeling nostalgic for the tropical rainstorms off the Indian Ocean.)



Shaan Corea
Poonakary, Sri Lanka Shaan missed the kids she works with in Poonakary, Sri Lanka and longs to visit them again.


Abu Khaled’s Sons Say Hello

Sultan Abotayeh
Azraq, Jordan The children of Abu Khaled, the one who worked with us in Azraq, used to always see Ru'a and play with her. They wanted to invite her to their house and they said to her "Come visit, Ru'a!".
.اولاد ابوخالد الشخص الي كان يشتغل معنا بالازرق كانو دايما يشوفو رؤى ويلعبو معها حبو يدعوها لعندهم عالبيت ويحكولها تعالي يا رؤى


Lighting Coals for BBQ

Claire Rosenberg
Dutchess County, New York, United States My family (dad and his girlfriend, his girlfriend's parents, brother and his wife, his wife's parents, mom and step-dad) ended up in upstate New York / western Massachusetts through a combination of living there, getting away for the weekend, and getting away for a few months. As a result, there have been many socially distanced get togethers (bbqs, hikes, foraging, strawberry picking) that have been had, which my dad often sends video of accompanied by messages of "We miss you!" or "Wish you were here!" It's been very comforting, and extracting the audio from these videos made me realize how much of that was tied to sound -- particularly the fuzziness of background chatter or overheard words, leading my imagination to fill in how that sentence ended or what my brother might have said in response.


Little Boys Say We Miss You and Come Visit

Sultan Abotayeh
Azraq, Jordan The children in the street stopped me to send their greetings to their friend Ru'a, with whom they share a lot of memories during the time we built them the first play space in their neighborhood. But they got a little bit worked up while recording the message!
الأطفال بالشارع وقفوني عشان انقل سلامهم لصديقتهم رؤى إلى كانت الهم ذكريات كثيره معهم لما عملنالهم اول مساحة لعب عندهم بالحاره.. بس تلبكو شوي وقت التسجيل


Making Tea

Shaan Corea
Colombo, Sri Lanka Akana's mother making tea in the morning. The sound of the kettle whistling takes Akana back to many mornings of living with her mother.


Guitar and Story Telling

Lee Bazalgette
Carmarthen, Wales Lee sits around with my family on a blamy evening in Wales, strumming a guitar and reminiscing about Glastonbury festival, car breakdowns and blood sucking insects.


Sounds of my Dog

Filomena and Margherita Fittipald
Rome, Italy 4 months without being able to return home, I haven't been used to it in the past few years. I miss everyone and continuously ask for videos of my dog.


Parade in New Orleans

Randy Carter
New Orleans, Lousiana, United States Clips of a spontaneous parade while Randy was visiting New Orleans.


مشوار Neighborhood Walk

Yasser Abu Hashem
Azraq Camp, Jordan My narrated stroll in Azraq camp as I head to my friend’s house for an evening gathering, which is a regular activity. I say Assalamualaikum (a common greeting that means Peace Be Upon You) to passersby, describe the weather and sights, ponder the pandemic, and reminisce about Syria. 
مشوار في مخيم الأزرق و أنا أتجه إلى منزل صديقي في المساء لسهرة مع الرفاق . أسلم على الناس في طريقي، ، أصف الطقس والمعالم ، أتحدث عن وباء كورونا ، وأتذكر و أحن إلى سوريا.


Indian Ocean

Shaan Corea
Trincomalee, Sri Lanka Waves crashing in the Indian ocean. Sent to Akana by her mother. A sound that is nostalgic for both of them as it is an essential sound of home.


Ocean Waves in Todos Santos

Sarah Raoufpur
Todos Santos, Baja Mexico This clip is of waves crashing on the beach in Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico. I miss traveling/Mexico/going to the beach so much, this soundscape is both nostalgic and emblematic of a pre-covid time.


Bird Sound

Serene Berges
Colombo, Sri Lanka Serena Berges is a yoga practicioner in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and as part of a zoom class she holds weekly, played this recording of birds songs from her garden. This clip provided for Akana as a portal to her home garden in Colombo, a place she is unable to visit due to the pandemic.



Morning Pigeon at My Windowsill

Ru’a Al-Abweh
Amman, Jordan Many mornings, I am awoken by the sound of a pigeon on my windowsill. It’s a calming and welcome start to my day.


Sunrise Bird Song

Colin Flynn
Chacahua, Mexico In Chacahua, whether I liked it or not, the birds were my 7AM morning alarm. There were no roads and few urban noises so natural sound slike birds, dogs, and the ocean stoof out far more than they did in the city.


Birds Azraq Camp

Yasser Abu Hashem
Azraq Camp, Jordan
صوت العصافير في منزلي . Sounds of birds inside my house.


Morning Coffee Outside

Shada Qahoush
Yangon, Myanmar
This is my morning coffee routine.


Street Sweeping

Ru’a Al-Abweh
Amman, Jordan I came across someone sweeping the street in front of their house while on my morning walk. The sound merges with that of cars driving by and distant chirping of birds.


Banning State Park

Madi Lommen
Minneapolis, Minnesota The pandemic has prompted me to discover natural havens near my home in Minneapolis, such as Banning State Park.


Children Playing

Mutasem Al-Abweh
Burgos, Spain Children playing and yelling in the passageway between two apartment complexes below while I munch on a watermelon from my terrace. Their sounds fill me with life and pureness while I laugh at the way they toddle about and the way they're moving and speaking constantly full of curiousity and wonder.


Noon Call to Prayer

Ru’a Al-Abweh
Amman, Jordan Sounds of the noon call to prayer from my balcony, a classic Amman sound, ringing through the city of seven hills.


Market in France

Paige Perillat-Piratoine
Saint-Girons, Ariège, France Bustling food soundscapes. A market in South of France. Some people are wearing masks but mostly it is as if the whole pandemic never happened. It is amazing how resilient some human traditions are despite crisis. The market is one of these. A market can pop up so easily, and be an anchor for community to reconnect.


Working with Classical Music

Ru’a Al-Abweh
Amman, Jordan While working from home, I found that classical music helped me focus as a background ambience. It became my go-to music as I typed away at my laptop.


Sounds of My Desk

Alan Yanaga
West Hollywood Sounds at Alan's desk and other sounds around his home.


Sounds of Silence

Razan Khalaf
Amman, Jordan I literally stayed with the silence, it helped acknowledge and redefine it, the mere act of selecting and documenting various moments meant silence had many shades and qualities to it - many genres of silence.

3:04 & 4:24

Neighborhood Run

Max Willis
Hamamatsu, Japan Running, and exploring, the town of Hamamatsu, where Max currently lives.


15 Minute Jog

Ru’a Al-Abweh
Amman, Jordan Regular morning walk/jog in my neighborhood

3:19 & 4:49 & 5:35

Narrated Walk through Berkeley

Kevin Clark
Berkeley Hills, California, United StatesI’m learning to live with a new routine, and perhaps even recalibrating the relationships in close proximity. I still yearn for the life post-Covid, though I know a variation of it will be here soon.


Street Sounds Along the Nile
Reem Khedr
Damietta, Egypt Nothing is for granted; careful what you overlook. Streets are lovely during this time of the day, everything seems to be so peaceful. I feel so light. Very grateful for this quality time with my brother. I think the city is pretty beyond words. There are also few kites in the sky. I'm no longer the early bird I was 12 days ago. Days are passing so quickly even when I'm still voluntarily quarantined. It's funny, but I know at this moment that I will miss COVID-19 aura if I can call it that. The aura that allowed me to be near my family and to see a lot of acts of solidarity all around the world. The aura that highlighted what matters and where our priorities should be.


New Run

Cassie Hoeprich
Koreatown - Los Angeles, California, United States Once the pandemic took hold, I found a new way to enjoy my neighborhood: running. In this clip, I am running by Mayor Garcetti's house where a number of Black Lives Matter protests have been hosted where people have called on him to defund the Los Angeles Police Department. My boyfriend and I both run by here regularly, and we also attend the protests.

4:19 & 5:05

15 Minute Walk

Ru’a Al-Abweh
Amman, Jordan Narrated 15-minute walk through my neighborhood where I notice new sights and sounds and ponder urban planning in Jordan and other musings.


مشوار Neighborhood Walk

Yasser Abu Hashem
Azraq Camp, Jordan My narrated stroll in Azraq camp as I head to my friend’s house for an evening gathering, which is a regular activity. I say Assalamualaikum (a common greeting that means Peace Be Upon You) to passersby, describe the weather and sights, ponder the pandemic, and reminisce about Syria.
مشوار في مخيم الأزرق و أنا أتجه إلى منزل صديقي في المساء لسهرة مع الرفاق . أسلم على الناس في طريقي، ، أصف الطقس والمعالم ، أتحدث عن وباء كورونا ، وأتذكر و أحن إلى سوريا.


Silverlake Dog Park

Irene Farr
Silverlake - Los Angeles, California, United States Home is whenever we’re together, and now we have a little one to add to our mix. Finally, we’ve become dog park people.


Broken Bell

Namariq Al-Rawi
Munich, Germany Since corona struck us, trying to avoid public transportation, I bought my bike and since then been traveling to work with it. I started to see the city differently, interact more and express my character loudly, instead of being a passive passenger in public transport


Biking on Chowen Street

Madi Lommen
Minneapolis, Minnesota Training from two national Red Cross teams (American and Ecuadorian) have sensitized me to listen for ambulance sirens. I often follow-up later to find out where the EMR went.


Curfew Siren

Razan Khalaf
Amman, Jordan The weaving of civil and military via this sound in particular highlights a map of Amman, the society and state I live in.


Black Lives Matter Speeches at MacArthur Park

Cassie Hoeprich
Westlake - Los Angeles, California, United States Black Lives Matter protests have erupted across the United States, and world, in response to the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many more people whose lives were ended too early at the hands of law enforcement. Persistent, suffocating systemic racism has long existed, yet many people in the United States are discovering how pervasive it is in our society. This speech is a moment in a protest where a lead organizer calls all in attendance to stand up to racism and our government.


Gas Truck

Ru’a Al-Abweh
Amman, Jordan One of the quirks of Amman is the sound of the gas truck music, which sounds similar to ice cream truck music. Ask anyone who has grown up here and they will tell you how quintessentially Amman the gas truck music is.


Ice Cream Truck

Cassie Hoeprich
Koreatown - Los Angeles, California, United States The ice cream truck is a fixture of many LA neighborhoods. The trucks boast an assortment of treats, including nachos and other snacks in addition to ice cream. Their arrival is always announced with this song. In our neighborhood, we've come to learn that the ice cream truck visits at 9PM nearly every day. We have also learned that this song we've come to associate with treats was originally composed in the early 1900s as an extremely racist song. Learning this was yet another moment of realizing how embedded racism is in our society, in places we might least expect to find it.


My Boyfriend, Playing Guitar

Filomena Fittipaldi
Milan, Italy Peace, tranquillity, the sound of a guitar, enjoying life with your partner, the little pleasures of everyday life, work from home where you can actually take some breaks to do what you enjoy most.


Old Music from an Old Radio and Balcony Conversations with My Mom

Ru’a Al-Abweh
Amman, Jordan Sitting on the closed balcony at night with my mom in Ramadan, after breaking the fast. My mom usually plays the radio in the evening and picks a channel which plays old music. She talks to me about my brother’s nostalgia for home and how it was triggered by a picture of Turkish sweets (similar to Arab ones) that a friend shared with him.

Dishes and Research


Madi Lommen
Minneapolis, Minnesota I often do household chores such as the laundry or washing dishes to give myself time to think.


Washing Machine

Filomena Fittipaldi
Milan, Italy
Repetition, a new routine, the sound of the washing machine, every day looks the same, every day waiting for a turning point

Rain Outside


Shada Qahoush
Yangon, Myanmar Rain sounds play a big role in my life currently because we're entering the rainy season.

Hail Storm


Colin Flynn
Mexico City, Mexico
Thunderstorms have been an almost nightly occurence in Mexico City this summer. Hail has not.


Swing with Rudy

Mutasem Al-Abweh
Burgos, Spain Lindy hop was the center of my life and many swingers in Burgos every weekend before COVID-19. To combat how much we despised [the pandemic] for preventing us from dancing, the head of the swing foundation, Miguel, arranged an activity in which we recorded ourselves dancing at home, but some of us, like me, lived solo. And that's how I met and fell in love with Rudy.