Lebanon

Graphic designer and photographer Deborah Phares invites us to a sound journey through the Lebanese geography, where a collage of voices and sounds emerge from the Arab traditional music and folklore and from its most representative instruments such as the oud. In this search for new music languages the use of modern rhythms coming from music genres such as pop, rock, rap or alternative rock has the objective of building bridges of understanding between the East and the West.

LEBANON  (Part I)

-Wadih Al Safi, also known as “the Lebanon Cedar”, vindicates the popular music of his own town which through its poetry and the zejel praises the human rights. Safi´s voice and his famous mawals have travelled around the world. Al Safi has sung in different languages such as Arab, French, Portuguese and Italian and his art has been recognized at the most important international festivals.

-Ghada Sbheir: His voice brings to our days the roots of the past present in the Syriac chants of the Maronite religion. These chants are, in most cases, performed without instruments, just as they were originally created. In his research, Ghada Sbheir has recovered thousands-year-old compositions which allude to Christmas, the Virgin Mary and Christ´s passion and resurrection.

-Assi el Helani. Since the 90´s he is considered one of the most important figures of the Middle East music scene. His music career started at the age of 17 when he won the Art Studio TV Program prize for young artists. Since then, Assi el Helani has published around 20 records such as Lihali Amshi o Shoag El Sahara which have achieved great success.

-Mohamed El Turk: This young Palestine Arab rap singer is making his way in the music scene. He still lives at the Borj El Barajneh refugee camp where he was born 21 years ago. There he set up his own music studio where he has recorded his first album I Voice, whose title is a play on words. He talks in this album about the daily situation of Palestinian people.  

-Michel Elefteriades: Artist and record producer, Elefteridades is well known for his eclectic style. He has produced the riskiest music experiments in the Arab World in the past years. He is a master fusing sounds and languages coming from different cultures. The result of this fuse is a melting pot where Arab, Latin and flamenco sounds and rhythms are mixed up proving once again that music is beyond borders or limits.

-Soumaya Baalbaki: The essence and the driving force of her work as a musician is to bring to the present the old tango songs with Arab influences. Her voice creates a new music expression full of emotions and feeling that praises for love and passion. Her new rhythms try to show the Lebanese youth a part of their country music history.

-Marcel Khalife, as a songwriter, is spreading the Arab music culture everywhere providing important contributions such as the renewed use of the oud, the composition of movie soundtracks or the execution of intercultural projects which use the music as a channel for a better understanding between Islam and the West. His songs, inspired in Mahmoud Darwish poems, give the Palestinian people the opportunity to have their voice heard.


LEBANON (Part II)
Since many years ago Beirut has become a music lab open to the most transgressive languages and styles brought by a young generation of artists who look for new ways  of expression in their use of different music genres such as rap, electronic music, alternative rock or indie music. This generation of new musicians is introduced by Deborah Phares and, like the city they live in, is on the move.

-Tania Saleh. Her style is all part of the alternative Indie music style. In her search for new ideas and styles Tania talks about very uncommon issues for what is usual in Arab lyrics. She accompanies her compositions with very sophisticated arrangements where the guitar solos, the riq and the groovy bass keep a dialogue with the lute and the acoustic guitar.

-Scrambled Eggs Band was born in Beirut in 1998. This rock band sings in English and represents a music lab which continues to debate its influences, which range from the progressive rock and the alternative British music to more transgressive genres such as American rock or punk rock. They have released several albums where they have tried to create new sounds.

-Charbel Rouhana: this musician and composer is connected to the revival of the Arab Eastern music represented by traditional instruments such as the oud, that he has transformed into a modern, multifunctional and multicultural instrument.

-Mazen Kerbaj: Musician, comic strip author and painter, Kerbaj creates electrifying music with acoustic instruments and war sounds which he considers as an inherent part of the collective memory. He is a master of the impromptu and his art participates of the constant renewal of the creative spirit that is taking place in Beirut. He’s a founding member of the Mil Association, made up of experimental musicians. This association has created the Irtijal Festival where different artists show up annually and do their impromptu performances.

-Singer and composer Youmna Saba wrote her first songs in 2006. She uses the Arab-Lebanese language for her lyrics which are inspired in daily situations. Her art, very personal, has been influenced by the Lebanese music Heritage and the Western music, especially by French music.

-Malikah. At the age of 16 this Algerian artist emerged in the Beirut hip-hop scene becoming soon afterwards “the queen of Arab rap”. Her artistic personality and the positive messages included in her lyrics have leaded her to collaborate and perform on stage with the main rap figures.

-Zeid Hamdan. The interest of the musician and record producer Zeid Hamdan in the electronic sounds led him to transform old Arab music styles using electronic instruments. He belongs to the new electronic scene which is going on in the Middle East. His proved ability to play with different music styles and musicians helps him to experiment in his work.

-Mashrou' Leila. This young band plays alternative rock. It holds a prominent position within the Lebanese underground scene. Their lyrics are provocative and their mise en scene is subversive. Members play bass, guitars, drums, keyboards and violin, whose prominence on stage is quite remarkable. They have revolutionize the Lebanese modern music scene.

 

 

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