Monday, May 30, 2011

Sophia Marikh Releases Arabic Version of 'Woman in Love'

Moroccan singer Sophia Marikh, who initially shot to fame after her participation in the popular Lebanese TV show Star Academy (First Season), has just recorded and released her version of the popular Barbra Streisand song 'Woman in Love' titled 'Tahwak' (She Loves You).  The song is in classical Arabic which makes it accessible to listeners all over the Arab world.  Marikh also released a superb clip o go with the song.

The original song in English was originally written by Barry Gibb and recorded and released by Barbra Streisand back in the 1980's.  A few years later, French singer Mireille Mathieu released a French version of the song called "Une Femme Amoureuse."

Here is the video clip for Sophia Marikh's 'Tahwak' followed by the English version by Barbra Streisand (Woman in Love) and the French version by Mireille Mathieu (Une Femme Amoureuse).

Also included at the end of this blog entry are the lyrics to the Arabic version

Arabic Lyrics to "Tahwak" by Sophia Marikh

في أعماقي أبحث
كيف الزمان والوقت يقاس

من ساعة ما عيناك آتت قلبي
ايقظت فيها الإحساس

كل شيء تبدل
وجوه الناس
أحبتها عيناي

اختزلت المسافات 
رسمت الحكايات
وأحببت الحياة

أنا إمرأة تهواك
وأعشق من قلبي
ولو أحببت من قبلي
لن تهوى بعدي

قلبي يسكنه هواك

كيف انساك؟

وتراني أرحل 
أنا بالخيال
في دفء الأشعار

وبحنان انت تأخذ يدي
وتسقط كل الأسرار

لن اسمح لغيري
منك مستحيل

لغيري لا مكان
فليقف الزمان
يا حبيبي الآن
أنا إمرأة تهواك
وأعشق من قلبي
ولو أحببت من قبلي
لن تهوى بعدي

قلبي يسكنه هواك

كيف انساك؟

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 26 Podcast of 'Hi Keefak Ca Va' ft. interview with Tareq Al-Samman

My May 26  Podcast is available already for free downloading.
Go to the link below then click on the arrows to the bottom right to download (or right click to save).

THIS WEEK May 26  (Episode 10): Includes great music from Lebanon and Syria, courtesy of special guest Tareq Al-Samman.

If the link above doesn't work for you, click on the links below to listen.



Artist/ Track/ Album/ Label

1. Kulna Sawa/ Izaet Kilna Sawa/ Kulna Sawa/ NA
2. Kulna Sawa Sahra fi salon el Madame Kulna Sawa/ NA
3. Tareq Al-Samman Intro/ Interview/ KZSU 90.1 FM/ KZSU
4. Itar Sham3/ Matar/ Baytuna/ Incognito
5. Saleh, Tania/ Omar & Ali/ Wehde/ Forward Music
6. Rouhana, Charbel/ El Bent el chalabiya/ Rouhana/ EMI
7. Offendum, Omar/ Damascus/ Syrianamericana/ Cosher Ink, Llc
8. Chamamyan, Lena/ Cha'am/ The Collection/ Forward Music
9. Huwat, Sami & George Yamin/ La tis2alni 3an dini/ Single/ Unreleased
10. Ashour, Tamer/ Beit Kebeer (A Big House)/ Leayah Nazra (I Have A Point Of View)/ Rotana

11. Kulna Sawa/ Wayn A ramallah/ Kulna Sawa/ NA
12. Keren Ann/ Que N'ai-Je?/ Nolita/ Capitol Records Inc.
13. Cheba Djenet/ Jalouse (Jealous)/ Jalouse/ Funhouse Records
14. Rouhana, Charbel/ Hi, Keefak, Ca Va/ Hi Keefak Ca Va/ EMI
15. Itar Sham3/ Kazzab/ Baytuna/ Incognito
16. Salalem/ El Zol/ Jeeran/ Jeeran
17. Atlas, Natacha/ La Nuit Est Sur La Ville/ Mounqaliba: In A State Of Reversal/ Six Degrees Records
18. Saleh, Tania/ Shou (What?)/ Wehde/ Forward Music

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Art of Revolution: Article by Colleen Gillard & Georgia Wells

The Art of Revolution

By Colleen Gillard & Georgia Wells
At an art school in Cairo, students explore the Egyptian uprising through a once-banned medium: protest art

Full article at 

On the sidewalk outside Cairo's Faculty of Fine Arts college on leafy Zamalek Island, just across the Nile from Tahrir Square, hijab-wearing young women are elbow-deep in paint. Absorbed in their work, they climb ladders to study the effect, all the while graciously answering questions from a gathering audience. The students, whose sweet faces are framed by pastel scarves, don't look much like revolutionaries, even if their art tells stories of blood, agony and rage.
Two months after protests forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from office, these students are communicating their feelings about the revolution in the way they know best: by covering the school's drab gray walls with colorful political art.
One of the mural's artists, Youmna Mustafa, 20, points to the bound screaming face on her wall and says her piece is about freedom of speech.

"This is what the square meant to me," the student of mosaic art says. "This is why I went. Not to be able to speak your mind, your wants and desires, share your thoughts out loud, is to feel," she pauses, searching for the word, "dead."
In another ten-by-ten-foot panel, Anas Muhammed, 21, explores the role that the Internet and social media had in informing the public and publicizing the protests. He has drawn a man whose head, once helmeted and blinded by state media, is now brilliantly lit by Twitter, Facebook, and Al Jazeera.
Before the Internet, he says, "all we had to unify us was the Egyptian flag--which I show bleeding from the disrespect Mubarak showed us."
Most of the school's faculty and 2,500-student body attended the demonstrations, according to the genteel Professor of Mural Art Sabry Mansour. Those 18 days of protest and President Mubarak's departure were an emotional earthquake for the country, he says, and he wanted to find a way to capture the energy, optimism, and passion, especially that expressed by the students.
Gazing around the school's courtyard -- where a fully-clothed male model, dressed in shirt and ironed slacks, leans on draped boxes before a life-drawing class of a half-dozen young women -- Professor Mansour says he finally decided to do something that would have been impossible under President Mubarak: protest art.
"The school's walls on the street were covered with graffiti, only it was not" Professor Mansour hesitates politely, "very good graffiti." He realized then, of course, the revolution would make better street art.
Students at the century-old school responded well. After losing one of their peers to the violence -- a well-loved young man majoring in Interior Design and Decor --the students found great meaning in the assignment, Professor Mansour says. All 60 students in the course made a mural design to present. The class held a "democratic vote" to select the seven best.
A green snake winds through another painting on Ismail Mohammed Street, strangling people and drawing blood. "This is about Mubarak, the corrupt, the unjust. A true snake who deceived his own people," says 21-year-old Rehan Nabil.
When asked about the many young women who joined the protests and what kind of place they hoped for in a new regime, Nabil shakes her head.
"This is not about women; this is about everyone. Our country's problems are much bigger than women's rights."
Not just women's rights, she points out, needed better protection. "Everything women have suffered, all our citizens have suffered. Everything you might want for women -- like opportunity, education, jobs, respect, freedom -- you want for everyone."
Nabil describes Mubarak's regime as filled with thieves. "They robbed us of a future." More than anything, she says she wants to see her people's potential and talents put to use.
"We deserve to have a better place in the world. We deserve to join the First World and leave the Third World behind."
But when asked about her confidence in the current political process to bring her country a better future, her smile fades. "We are all holding our breath, waiting to see what will happen." When asked if she worries a theocracy will rise from the ruins of what was once President Mubarak's private kingdom, the sweet young woman in the hijab raises her chin. "We may be a devout people," she says, "but we don't want to be told what to do. We value freedom as much as anyone."
Other students, such as Mustafa, say they feel more confident that good things will come from the culture of the protests. Tahrir Square felt like a new country, she says, "a utopia," full of camaraderie. The power and meaning of joining her countrymen, united by a common goal, brought her to tears, her young face shining. "I felt alive! For the first time, I felt hope for my country."
For now, the murals are a testament to the anger these young people feel about the injustices of the past as well as their hope for the future. They are generating smiles and interest from the neighborhood.
"Passers-by are curious," says Professor Mansour, calling it appropriate and good that the students take public ownership of their pride in helping to change the country.
"It is a very good feeling to change a very bad regime," Professor Mansour says, looking over the murals with avuncular satisfaction. "It feels especially good to communicate this by doing something that would have had us arrested not very many weeks ago. Very, very liberating."

Full article at

We7 - The Voice of Silence ولاد الحاره - صوت الصمت

"We7 -- Wlad el 7ara" are a Palestinian Hip Hop group from the city of Nazareth and since 2001 has been comprised of group members "Adi Krayem (1986), Alaa Bishara (1987) and Anan Qssem (1985)". We7's musical style is a cultural mixture combining western Hip Hop beats and eastern melodies -- sounds of O'ud, Qannun and eastern violent take a leading part in the band's productions. We7's lyrics convey street wisdom as they address the social and political problems they face as a minority of Palestinians living inside Israel. We7 became one of the leading groups in the local scene through taking part in most of the Palestinian hip hop projects -- concerts, websites and musical releases, they reached local mainstream in 2007 when they released there first demo album entitled "Music to all my people" which was distributed for free across Palestine -- over 5000 copies, the album was produced and recorded in the band's studio in Nazareth "The Underground Studio". We7's international breakthrough is anticipated; they premiered in Amsterdam, Tunis, Greece, Cypress, Jordan and Oslo and have been a part of the documentary "Sling Shot Hip Hop" which is being viewed in film festivals around the world and has already taken an award in Sundance film festival in the USA. We7 took part in Kayaan Project which is the first project worldwide to combine Rap over Jazz music, the project's album is called "Wednesday" released at November 2010.

The group is currently working on their first international album "Voice Of the Silence" and a self entitled movie by Palestinian director Anwar Hassan, both are to be released in fall 2011.

Here is the official video for their song "Sawt El Samt" [The Voice of Silence] featuring Abeer Zinate aka Sabreena Da Witch

كلمات صوت الصمت
ولاد الحارة تستضيف عبير الزيناتي

صوت عالي عالي صامت
صمت عالي عالي فينا كابت

علاء بشارة
صوت عالي عالي بس صامت
صمت عالي عالي فينا كابت
متل تشارلي تشابلين الكل ساكت
يعني صوت صمت عنا متواجد
في حدا ضل هون صامد؟
كلو صفّى بس قلب نابض
وتمن صوت صمته قابض
ينعد منا وفينا بس غامض
يعني الأشي موجود بس مين يحس
مع انه للأشي في أعلى حس
وهادا هو الوجع انه في صوت بس ما إنسمع
حاول يطلع بس hey  إنمزع
واللي مفكر أخرس لمصيبته خضع
هو بحكي بس صوته بقلب مصيبته  إنبلع
الصمت بالصوت إنوضع وهاي نتيجة اللي تيجي
لمَا حليب السكوت ينرضع حليب السكوت ينرضع!!

عبير الزيناتي
إنولدنا عشان نخفي صوت الصمت
حياتنا بقيت تكتفي بصوت الصمت
لحد ما صوتنا يشفي صوت الصمت
صوت الصمت, صوت الصمت صوت الصمت, صوت الصمت

(عنان قسيم)
واحد تنين تنين أبدا من وين من صوت
نظرات حب صامتة تخلي عضمة لساني رابطة
ولا من صوت نظرة سياسية هابطة
من ناطحات سحاب و فيي خابطة ولا
من صوت نظرة شاب بعالم بس بنات عالخارطة
ولا من صوت نظرة جيل أعداد فارطة
ولا ولا والله مش عارف
من غير عيون شايف بس بلا تم خايف
اضل ساكت؟ واتاكل من الدئاب
من كتر الصمت السكون اليوم بضيع بالغاب
والصمت كبت فا أنسى تلاقي جواب
لكن قلمي أسّا تجرأ حطم وكسر
الجرة وطلع كلشي برّه
خلي كل تانية مُرة مرة واحدة و ما تنعاد
من اليوم وطالع كلشي تشوفه بشاشة تلات ابعاد
يعني صوت صمتي وصل لهاد

عبير الزيناتي
إنولدنا عشان نخفي صوت الصمت
حياتنا بقيت تكتفي بصوت الصمت
لحد ما صوتنا يشفي صوت الصمت
صوت الصمت, صوت الصمت صوت الصمت, صوت الصمت

(عدي كريم)
عايشين بظل أمر... منتكل عالصبر...
أحنا ورود نزرعت بين حجار منموت تنشوف بكرا...
ما حدا سمعنا عشانا بلغه غير...
لغة أبن بدو يغير الطريق...
أحنا لغة بنت بدها عالم بلا تفريق...
أحنا أكثر محل صرنا نروحه – وره الظهر...
الناس بتسمع بس بتخبي تحت التربة جمر...
الي تفرجي للأموات القهر بلا ما حدا يدرا بالأمر...
أحنا تشي جيفارا موجود بقلبنا...
تنحرره تيحررنا ...
أحنا أحنا صرنا حتى لما...
نيجي تنواجه المشاكل...
نتذكر أنا عرب الداخل..
بقنع حالي أني جاهل وبفضل أسكت...
صوت قطرات الدمع اللي تنزل مش مسموع...
بس راح ييجي يوم فيضان يحصل مش ممنوع...
إذا ما بجاوب... ما حدا بسأل...
ما بأمر ما حدا بعمل...
بدون ما نحكي ما راح نوصل وهذا صوتي...

عبير الزيناتي
حياتهم تتغير بس (لكن) هي اللازمة باغنية تعيد
اولها صمت اخرها صمت واكتر من صوت ما تريد
قالت بدي قالولها لا انت العرب واحنا نكون
قتلوا احلامها وصوتها بكاتم صوت ملعون
غنيت وحكيت قالولي صوتك هدا عورة
عقدولي لساني امروني اغني وشو سموني حرة
شفت اللي راح شفت اللي اجا
شفت حياتي ومثلي ما شاف حدا
صوتي بثورة ما ضل منها حتى الصدا
صوت الصمت صار شعار حياتي انا

عبير الزيناتي
إنولدنا عشان نخفي صوت الصمت
حياتنا بقيت تكتفي بصوت الصمت
لحد ما صوتنا يشفي صوت الصمت
صوت الصمت, صوت الصمت صوت الصمت, صوت الصمت

يا عنان قلي لمين بدي غني؟
يا عدي جاوبني شو بدي احكي؟
يا علاء ساعدني كيف بدي اشكي؟
وجعي اللي بقلبي همي بصوت صمتي

Monday, May 16, 2011

Meet The Lebanese Rap Band ASHEKMAN


-Mijrim Kaleim (MC/producer)

-Carbonn (MC/producer)

Hometown:  Beirut

Record Label:  Toj Kil Shi prod.

About: 100% Lebanese rap crew


Started in the year 2001 in Beirut (Lebanon), a city that witnessed over the past 2 decades: war, destruction, corruption, terrorist attacks, bombing, assassinations, social injustice & other kind of inspiring materials that were the main topics in ASHEKMAN songs. The crew is composed of identical twin brothers: MIJRIM KALEIM (born. Mohamed Kabbani) MC/Producer and CARBONN (born. Omar Kabbani) MC/Producer, both university graduates (Graphic Design major) from the Lebanese American University (L.A.U) and Graffiti Artists. The style adopted by ASHEKMAN is Lebanese rap, with Arabic lyrics/Lebanese dialect, with an aggressive/cynical tonality and underground topics that created problems with the censorship/organizers and led ASHEKMAN to be shutdown/censored in 5 concerts, but on the other hand created a street buzz and a notorious reputation for this duo crew, as the true voice of the society. The name ASHEKMAN means in slang Lebanese the exhaust pipe of a vehicle, signifying the toxic lyrics used in the songs of the crew.


-Ele min (AKS'SER feat ASHEKMAN)-AKS'SER album 2005

-Nasher ghassil (ASHEKMAN debut album) -2007

-3youn 3a lebnene - Peace beats mixtape- 2008 (read less)

Current Location:  Beirut/Lebanon

Press Contact:


Here is the video clip from their song ArcheWALLogy followed by the English translation of the lyrics:

ASHEKMAN official videoclip from their 2nd album, produced by Toj Kil Shi prod.09, directed by The Kabbani Twins.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF 7itan 3am Te7kineh (ArcheWALLogy)

ASHEKMAN - [Archewallogy] Hitane Aam Tehkineh

I was never a thug/ because I wasn’t raised in the street
Im good at painting walls / im convinced doing this art
Im boycotting the intellectual terrorism / I’m fed up with the bad economy
Its like walking without shoes /its  like repeating the same mistake
We don’t need a fortuneteller / in order to tell you whats written on the walls
You’ll understand alone that the story/ is been cooked and we’re in it
With a bit of oil, salt and paint / a brother kills his brother
For the definition of the nation, political party, the cause, the flag
Aiyo, it’s the story of a nation going nuts/ talking to a wall
It’s the story  of a society so dumb/ it immortalize pop singers on walls
It’s the story of  a society that only understand with a gun in the head
It’s the story of a society that wish to turn its country  to ashes
Beirut is a concrete paradise/ I don’t want to see her sad
I don’t want to see all the political propaganda / I don’t want anyone to ask me about my religion
Militias asking me about my ID/ if im from the East or the West
Though my graffiti I want to turn my city  to a museum I want the war to become from the past
You can call me Picasso / with an Ego problem
With a pen that doesn’t dry/ like a gun spraying the paper
We claim that the street is ours / because ASHEKMAN are the kings of the game
Try , and try and keep on trying to be like us, / but its impossible

The walls are talking to me/ telling  the story of the  city’s past
She’s telling me I cant stand it anymore (the street has rights, like nobody else)

The walls are talking to me / asking me to protect her
She wants to be in safe hands (the street has rights, like nobody else)

Come and roll with me , lets inhale gaz and  dust, ASHEKMAN for me is the remedy
Comedown with me, the situation isn’t stable 5 degrees of Richter, believe its not safe

Ok, the walls are talking to me, its telling me the story
Of the society that is living a hard life
Im fed up with the dirt of the politics
How many middle finger can the society handle from them
In my hood, the army protects the streets 24/7,
Tanks, hummers,  4x4 patrols
My town is barricade/ and its not nice
But I don’t want them to leave
Because the thugs are collecting bullets
Im waking up in the morning / on their mum screaming
Inhale exhale, my breath is weak
The past is witnessing destruction
Every militia in the past is tagging the walls
Even dogs are pissing to mark their territories
You cant hide the truth/ even if you paint over it
The retarded mentality will remain a black stain
In this chaos , I will always put my fingers but not of the wound
But on the spay cans and color my town
They say if you wish to know your future you have to study your past
You should read between the alleys/lines to know you future my friend

The walls are talking to me/ telling  the story of the  city’s past
She’s telling me I cant stand it anymore (the street has rights, like nobody else)

The walls are talking to me / asking me to protect her
She wants to be in safe hands (the street has rights, like nobody else)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Podcast from May 12, 2011 Hi Keefak Ca Va (Episode 8) Available

My May 12  Podcast is available already for free downloading.

Go to the link below then click on the arrows to the bottom right of that page to download (or right click to save).

THIS WEEK (Episode 8): Great new songs in Arabic, French and English; an interview with Stanford Arabic Librarian David Giovacchini and Stanford student of Arabic Michael Peddycoart.

If the link above doesn't work for you, click on the links below to listen.


Artist/ Track/ Album/ Label

1. Bassil Moubayyed/ Kanoun Baghdadi/ Rough Guide Bellydance/ World Music Network
2. Hanine Y Son Cubano/ Arabo Cuban Improvisation/ 10908 km/ Warner
3. Ajram, Nancy/ Emta Hashoufak/ N7/ In Musica
4. Diad, Amr/ Qosad Ayni/ Laili ou Nhari/ Rotana
5. Kfoury, Wael & Nawal El Zoghbi/ Meen habibi ana/ Kfoury/ Classic Melodia
7. Ahl-i Nafs/ Shadow Dance/ Single/ Cutout
8. Hafez, Abdel Halim/ Beny Oubenak Eih/ Maweed Gharam/ EMI Music Arabia
9. Offendum, Omar/ The Arab Speaks Of Rivers/ Syrianamericana/Cosher Ink, Llc
10. Atlas, Natacha/ La Nuit Est Sur La Ville/ Mounqaliba: In A State Of Reversal/ Six Degrees Records
11. Lavoine, Marc & Souad Massi/ Paris/ Olympia Deuxmilletrois/ Barclay
12. INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL PEDDYCOART (Stanford Student in Arabic)
13. Mitwasi, Hani/ Ya Lora Hubbuki/ Khamrat Al Hob/ Hani Mitwasi

14. Chamamyan, Lena/ Lamma Bada Yatathana/ Best of Lena Chamamyan/ Forward Music
15. Club D'elf/ Bendir Done That/ Electric Moroccoland/ Face Pelt Records
16. Farroukh, Toufic/ Only Lonely/ Tootya/ O + Music
17. Saleh, Tania/ Slow Down/ Wehde/ Forward Music
18. Aswat/ Tayr Al-Wirwar/ Classical And Folkloric Arabic Music/ Self Release
19. Ayoub, Elizabeth/ Ya Oud/ Oceanos Y Lunas/ Four Quarters Entertainment
20. Dalida/ Comment L'Oublier/ Les Annees Orlando 08/ Orlando/Barclay/Polygram
21. Fayrouz/ El Bint El Chalabiya/ Eh, Fi Amal (Yes, There Is Hope)/ Fbe
22. Fernandez, Nilda/ Plus loin de ta rue/ Nilda Fernandez/ Diese Records
23. Cheb Tarik/ Emmenez-moi/ Single/ La Fa Mi Productions
24. El Khalil, Omeima/ Ouhibbouka Akthar/ Ya/ Forward Music

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mashrou' Leila Wins Over Cairo

The original article was published at

Mashrou' Leila wins over Cairo

By Chitra Kalyani/ Special to Daily News Egypt

May 8, 2011, 4:56 pm

Be warned — when you ask Mashrou' Leila about their name, the Lebanese band will not give a straight answer. They’re a bit tricky, and might just spin you a yarn from A Thousand and One Nights.

On their first night in Cairo, Al-Azhar Park’s Geneina Theater was packed in preparation, audiences clutching tickets crowding the door an hour in advance. As the night progressed, the grass on the slope leading to the theater was used as seating. Not only were Mashrou' Leila popular with fans that sung along to lyrics, they also won new ones out of the head-banging crowd that lined the front of the stage, and who took over the stage at the concert finale.

Calling the band an “overnight project” would be to lose their name in translation. Rather, the band wonders out loud together about who Leila is, easily completing each other’s stories and sentences as they might do in songs.

“The chemistry” of their fused talents, as front-man Hamed Sinno says, “is flawless.”

“Leila” began when violinist Haig Papazian, guitarist Andre Chedid and pianist Omaya Malaeb posted a call for musicians at the architecture and design school at the American University in Beirut (AUB). From the onset, the band produced original music, which according to vocalist Sinno falls in line with the independent attitude of the band.

Even in an environment like AUB, Sinno finds “a lot of racism, sexism, — political narrow mindedness,” adds Chedid — and homophobia. “I just loved that these guys were mature about these things. They were obviously thinking about how they wanted to live.”

“It really wasn’t somebody that was sitting down and singing an ‘Alice and Chains’ song and covering it. They were really involved with their being.”

“Coming from a design background says a lot about who we are,” says Chedid, “We are people that are open to suggestions.”

The lyrics are penned by Sinno, informed by high-brow reading translated into everyday concerns and language. They are often an expression of the band’s shared thoughts. Words and theories roll easily off the tongue of Sinno, who is equally vocal on different issues.

Marriage is an important and recurring theme in songs such as the popular “Fasateen” (Dresses). Often hand in hand goes the issue of hypocrisy. “It becomes a transaction,” says Sinno, when Chedid criticizes the lavish expenditure that goes around marriages in Lebanon.

Sinno makes a slip onstage, referring to Sadat instead of Mubarak as the ousted president, and laughs at himself. But the audience is already too won over to care.

Speaking of one man’s love for another, “Shim El-Yasmine” (Smell the Jasmine) is also the byproduct of Sinno dabbling in literature. “I was reading Brian Whitaker’s ‘Unspeakable Love’ and there was a part where he was talking about the shame of publicly wavering masculinity in the arts,” said Sinno, “I wanted to try something like that…because I didn’t find it shameful.”

The speaker in “Yasmine” is thus consciously feminized, expressing the desire to “cook your food.” Coming after a messy break-up in a relationship, “I had something I wanted to share emotionally and I was reading something at the time that was stimulating me in terms of how I wanted to express myself.”

Stripped of any masculine bravado and half the instruments, the unhurried tempo of “Yasmine” simply and solely expresses loss and the after-effects of an unfulfilled love, the hopes of what could have been.

Other times the music is an experiment. “Raksit Leila” as an attempt at surrealism after reading Andre Breton, said Sinno. “The sentences in themselves make sense, but in an order they don’t really mean anything,” explains Chedid. An aubergine appears in the thought bubble of the band members in the music video. “Everyone attaches their own meaning to it.” A bit like the name Mashrou' Leila.

“We don’t write about show and inaccessible subject matter; we talk about life in its crudest form.” And sometimes this song takes the form of the language. “In Beirut, language is the biggest class signifier,” said Sinno, adding singing in Arabic was a conscious choice.

“Aal Hagiz’s” lyrics are peppered with profanity, which “is very Lebanese,” Sinno notes. Abusing one’s authority is common in Beirut. “You could have a weird haircut and they’ll pull you out on the side, take you out of the car and search you,” says Chedid. “Aal Haagiz” (At the Checkpoint) is about an imaginary tussle with a guard in a crude conversation.

“Imbillilah,” an untranslatable word, is a quick-paced song that invites the listener to shake along. Yet in that trance, the song inserts some very caustic words on the failure of the wife-beating Abou Masoud, who “would do better in the Gulf / but there’s no alcohol.”

The onomatopoeic lyrics of “Oubwa” mimic a ticking “bomb.” They describe a landscape of insecurity, and also belie a buildup of tension where “everyone’s stubborn” and “religion is the best color.”

The song “El-Hall Romansy” (Romantic Solution) is inspired by “a feminist social theory,” says Sinno. It “criticizes the marital institution as being one that is strictly for economic purposes, masking themselves as spiritual or romantic solutions.” The song translates the message, complaining of high rents. Yet Sinno’s lyrical partner is no doubt a braniac: “Marry me, and read Engels in my bed.”

“El-Hall Romansy” is also the title of their second album under production. “It’s more personal, and sentimental and intimate,” drummer Carl Gerges said.

“Also more synthesized,” adds Hamed. “We’re coming up with things, fake characters to perform lyrically. It’s a lot more liberating, but it’s challenging to come up with something with enough psychological depth”

Success comes in different avatars for the band members. Gerges said “making it” would mean having a production label, others mentioned being able to live off the music.

“A major problem in Lebanon is that the younger people leave the country,” said Chedid, and through their work in supporting other artists, they felt they gave others a reason to stay.

It already felt like an achievement to receive messages from Palestine and Cairo, Sinno said, with audience saying they could relate to the lyrics. At other times, said Chedid, the received messages like, “I don’t understand any Arabic but this music really speaks to me.”

Guitarist Firas Abu-Fakhr was heartened to hear that a pregnant woman played their music to her baby and that she named her child, Leila.

While band members work or study in their fields of architecture and design, they all agree Mahsrou' Leila gets first dibs: “Music is our priority. The reason we work is to sustain ourselves, and to produce music.”

“We all agree that it is once in a lifetime that this happens,” said Chedid, “and especially in the time that it’s happening, it would be stupid to let it pass. We push it as hard as it goes, as far as it goes.”

While Geneina seemed filled to brim with fanfare, for Mashrou' Leila a thousand more nights remain to be lived.

For more information on the band, visit

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