Showing posts with label Yasmine Hamdan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yasmine Hamdan. Show all posts

Monday, January 20, 2014

Yasmine Hamdan Performs at globalFEST 2014

A solo artist based in Europe after a childhood split between Lebanon, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Greece, the co-founder of the groundbreaking duo Soapkills blends new material with reworked traditional songs in a smoky-cool electro-pop setting.

For more see

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Top 30 alternative/indie Arabic Songs of 2013 Featured on Dec 20 'Arabology' Podcast

This year-end episode of 'Arabology' (aired Dec 20) showcases and discusses the Top 30 alternative/indie Arabic songs of 2013 along with exclusive shout-outs by some of the artists whose music is featured, including Tania Kassis, Tania Saleh, Hamed Sinno [Mashrou' Leila], Yassir Chadly, Yasmine Hamdan, May Nasr, Eliyahu Sills, Rania Kurdi, DAM, Mike Massy, and Omar Offendum.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the arrow below or at

Top 30 Songs 2013 for Arabology 20 Dec 2013 DJ: Ramzi S.

1.  Massar Egbari/ Iqra2 El Khabar/ Iqra2 El Khabar/ Massar Egbari
2.  Akher Zephir/ Akherto Lahn Hazin/ Counter Culture/ Eka3
3.  Mashrou' Leila/ Abdo/ Raasuk/ Mashrou' Leila Preceded by message from Hamed Sinno
4.  Sadat & Alaa Fifty Cent/ Five Pound Credit/ Generation Bass/ Six Degrees Records 
5.  Hello, Psychaleppo!/ Tobayabooya/ Gool L'Ah/ Samer Saem Eldahr
6.  Abdulrahman Mohammad/ Asabaki 3ishq/ Abdulrahman Mohammed
7.  Omeima El Khalil,/ Shab Y Sabiyeh/ Ya/ Forward Music 
8.  Ensemble Ibn Arabi/ Her Words Bring Me to Life Again/Arabo-Andalusian Sufi Songs/ Long Distance France
9.  DAM/ If I Could Go Back In Time/ Debke On The Moon/ DAM Preceded by message from DAM
10. Stormtrap/ Taht El Agal/ Stormtrap/Stormtrap Asfeh
11. Elepheel+Edd Abbas+Lipos/ Master Cosmic Spy/ Tripnol/ Edd Abbas/Lipos/Elepheel
12. Jadal/ Fe Nabd Ana Has/ El Makina/ Mahmoud Radaideh
13. Rania Kurdi/ Ana Ana/ Sasha Abi Najmeh/ Rania Kurdi Preceded by message from Rania Kurdi
14. Michelle & Noel Keserwany/ Jagal El USEK/ Jagal El USEK/ Keserwany
15. Tania Kassis/ Ounchoudat Bayrout/ Oriental Colors/ Magnum Records Preceded by message from Tania Kassis
16. Zeid Hamdan/ Asfeh (Acoustic)/ Single/ Lebanese Undergroud
17. Mike Massy/ Ya 3achikat Al Ward/ Ya Zaman/  Falak Productions Preceded by message from Mike Massy
18. Jowan Safadi & Haya Zaatry/ Ji2tu ila Ahli/ Ghanni 3n Al-Taareef/
19. Ziyad Sahhab/ Kaza Kitab/ Keep On Singing/ Forward Music
20. Tania Saleh/ Hashishet Albi (Live)/ Live At Drm/ Forward Music Preceded by message from Tania Saleh
21. Labess/ El Kass Yadour/ Identite/ Needlepoint Records
22. Khaled/ Laila/ C'est La Vie/ Universal Music France
23. Rachid Taha/ Now Or Never/ Zoom/ Naive
24. Omar Offendum/ The Arab Speaks of Rivers & Finjan/ Syrianamericana/ Cosher Ink Preceded by message from Omar Offendum
25. Yassir Chadly/ Bil Mustapha/ Asheeq Zeen/ Yassir Chadly Preceded by message from Yassir Chadly
26. Khaled Aljaramani/ Farah/ Athar/ Institut Du Monde Arabe & Harmonia Mundi
27. Mohamed Abozekry and  Heejaz/ Sur La Route/ Chaos/ Neonovo
28. Eliyahu & The Qadim Ensemble/ Maghrebi/ Eastern Wind/ Self Release Preceded by message from Eliyahu Sills
29. May Nasr/ Ouhibuka (Lyrics by Ghada Samman)/ Single/ May Nasr Preceded by message from May Nasr
30. Yasmine Hamdan/ Nediya/ Ya Nass/ Crammed Discs Preceded by message from Yasmine Hamdan

'Arabology' is a weekly radio program, currently in its sixth season, which airs on KZSU 90.1 FM (San Francisco bay area).  It is hosted by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Lecturer at Stanford University, who showcases and discusses (mostly alternative) Arabic music, along with interviews + commentary in English. Previous Podcasts at

Saturday, November 23, 2013

11/21 Arabology Podcast ft Kristian Davis Bailey, Yasmine Hamdan, Mona Mansour

This episode of 'Arabology' aired on Nov 21, 2013 and included interviews with Stanford student/activist Kristian Davis Bailey who spoke about his trip to the West Bank; Lebanese American playwright Mona Mansour who continued our conversation from last week's show; and Yasmine Hamdan in a special segment of an interview that had previously been aired in its entirety on 'Arabology.  Also includes a special remix of Yasmine Hamdan's 'Shouei" plus a slew of other Arabic songs and music. Listen to the podcast below or at

Playlist for Arabology Thurs, 21 November 2013 4pm - 6pm DJ: Ramzi S.
1. Chamamyan, Lena/Henna w Zahr Intro/Ghazl El Banat/Chamamyan
2. Land Of Kush/ Faint Praise/Big Mango/Constellation Records
3. Khaled/Bab Jenna (Gate Of Heaven) /C'est La Vie/Universal Music France
4. Taha, Rachid/Zoom Sur Oum/Zoom/Naive
5. Breaking the boundaries & Abdulrahman mohammed/Ya mn hawah/single//AM
6. Mashrou' Leila/Bahr/Raasuk/Mashrou' Leila
7. Nahhas, Macadi/Natalie/Single/Macadi Nahhas
8. Rizk, Rasha & Ibrahim Suleimany/Ya Rait/Baytna/Itar Shameh
9. Saleh, Tania/Tlaa min hayete/Live at DRM/Forward Music
10. Interview with Lebanese American playwright Mona Mansour/Pt 2 (Pt 1 aired last week)
11. Fairuz/Nihna wil amar jiran /Live at Royal Festival Hall, London 1986/EMI
12. Hamdan, Yasmine/Ya Nass/Ya Nass/Crammed Discs
13. Interview with Yasmine Hamdan (segment only) Complete interview aired on previous show
14. Hamdan, Yasmine/ Shouei (EPI Remix)/Single/EPI
15. Banna, Rim/Ras Al-Jabal/Al-Rawa'i (Greatest Hits)/Laser
16. Interview with Kristian Davis Bailey/Part 1/Arabology/KZSU
17. Ramzi Aburedwan/Sodfa/Rough Guide Mediterranean/World Music Network
18. Interview with Kristian Davis Bailey/Part 2/Arabology/KZSU

Sunday, October 20, 2013

In the Studio with Yasmine Hamdan

Watching Yasmine Hamdan in the recording studio is an amazing experience.  Only here can you actually see and hear some of what she experiences while recording.  Paradoxically aloof yet emotionally devastated, Yasmine's technique, gestures, and voice acrobatics are that of true artist.  This may be a long way from her debut with the forever-hip, groundbreaking Lebanese duo 'Soapkills' but it is a phenomenal way to showcase Yamsine Hamdan's solo career as well as her latest album 'Ya Nass.'

Yasmine Hamdan Sings 'Beyrouth'

En studio avec Yasmine Hamdan 1/2 : Beyrouth by telerama

Yasmine Hamdan Sings 'Shouei'

Yasmine Hamdan Sings 'Nedya'

En studio avec Yasmine Hamdan 2/2 : Nediya by telerama

Friday, June 7, 2013

6/6 Arabology Podcast Spotlights Yasmine Hamdan


The first 90 min of the June 6, 2013 Arabology podcast feature a musical interview with Lebanese born singer/songwriter/actress Yasmine Hamdan who has redefined alternative Arabic music as part of Soapkills (with Zeid Hamdan) before working with Mirwais as YAS on the 'Arabology' album and eventually launching a solo career of her own. (Listen at or click on arrow below or download entire podcast at

The second part of this podcast (30 min) includes songs by Oumeima El Khalil, The Egyptian Project, Pangia, Rima Khcheich, El Far3i, El Ras. (Listen/download at

Saturday, May 25, 2013

5/23 Arabology Podcast highlights Arab Women's Voices and Writings

The May 23, 2013 episode of Arabology highlights Arab Women's Voices in music, literature and culture. 
It can be downloaded at
See full playlist at end of this blog entry.

May 23, 13 Arabology Podcast includes these amazing women and more

This Podcast includes:
1. An exclusive interview with singer May Nasr and the US premiere of her new song 'Ouhibbouka" (lyrics by Syrian writer Ghada Al Samman)
2. Writer Arin Mango who reads excerpts from her article "What's Islam Got to Do with It?' which was just published in Avicenna - The Stanford Journal on Muslim Affairs (Vol 3 No. 1 Winter 2013)
3. A conversation with Nisrin Elamin (Doctoral student at Stanford) who broaches issues related to Sudanese culture while showcasing vibrant songs by Alsarah and Rasha.
4. An interview with Zoe Woolford, student of Arabic at Stanford, who discusses the challenges and benefits of learning Arabic.
5. Selected songs by some of the Arab world's most talented female vocalists including Oumeima el Khalil, Yasmine Hamdan, and Fairuz.

Listen instantly (give a minute to load) at:

Playlist for Arabology Thurs, 23 May 2013 3-5pm DJ: Ramzi S. (Artist/Track/Album/Label)
1. Oumeima El Khalil/ Fi Akher Al Ashyaa/ Zaman/ Forward Music
2. Fairuz/ Ahwak/ Fairuz Chante Zaki Nassif/VDL
3. May Nasr+Lourdes Perez/Ma'kum bimshi/May Nasr
4. Interview with May Nasr/ Pre-recorded/ Arabology/ KZSU
5. May Nasr/ Ouhibouka (lyrics by Ghada Samman)/ Single/ May Nasr
6. Reading by Arin Mango/ What's Islam Got to Do with It?/Avicenna: Stanford Journal of Muslim Affairs
7. Rasha/ Ya Sudan Ma'alesh/ Let me be/ Rasha
8. Interview with Nisreen Elamin/ Part 1/ Arabology/ KSU
9. Alsarah/ Fi Himaka Rabana / Single/ Alsarah
10. Interview with Nisreen Elamin/ Part 2/ Arabology/ KZSU
11. Alsarah ft Oddise2/ Vote/ Single/ Oddisee
12. Interview with Zoe Woolford/Stanford student of Arabic/ Arabology/ KZSU
13. Yasmine Hamdan/ La Mouch/ Yasmine Hamdan/ Kwaidan Records

Monday, December 10, 2012

Arabology Season Finale Podcast Counts Down Top 20 'Alternative' Arabic Musical Artists of 2012

The 3rd Season Finale of 'Arabology'--hosted by Dr. Ramzi Salti, Lecturer at Stanford University, counts down the Top 20 'Alternative' Arabic Artists of 2012 including Mashrou' Leila, Rim Banna, Omeima El Khalil, Zeid Hamdan, Tania Saleh, Mike Massy, Natacha Atlas, Hana Malhas, Jadal, Yasmine Hamdan, Tania Kassis, Jowan Safadi, more. This episode is hosted by DJ Ramzi and guest host Mohammed El Jurf (pic below).

PLAYLIST (Artist/ Track/ Album/Label)
20. Safadi, Jowan/ A3ish Hayati (Live My Life) & Kul El Banat (All the Girls)/ Namroud/ Eka3
19. Massy, Mike/ Ya Zaman/ Ya Zaman/ Falak Productions
18. Jadal/ Bye Bye Azizi/ Single/ Forward Music
17. Natacha Atlas/ Taalet/ Paleo 2012/ Disques Office
16. Banna, Rim & Henrik Koitzsch/ Wait for Me (Intazirini)/ This Was Not My Story/ Un Mundo Mejor
15. Trio Joubran/ Nawwar/ Paleo 2012/ Disques Office
14. Maraka, Aziz/ Possessed/ Master Copy/ Cd Baby
13. Mathlouthi, Emel/ Ma Lkit (Remix)/ Kelmti Horra/ World Village
12. Kassis, Tania/ Chou Ma Sar (Remix Mhanna & Cupélian)/ Oriental Colors/ Magnum Recs Intl
11. Saleh, Tania/ Hsebak/ Radio Beirut/ Galileo Music Communication Gmbh / Ioda
10. Hamdan, Zeid/ La Repetition/ Beirut Hotel (Soundtrack)/ Lfp Les Films Pelléas
9. Ayoub, Elizabeth/ Habibi/ Oceanos Y Lunas/ Four Quarters Entertainment
8. Hamdan, Yasmine/ Beirut/ Yasmine Hamdan/ Kwaidan Records
7. Offendum, Omar/ The Arab Speaks Of Rivers/ Syrianamericana/ Cosher Ink, Llc
6. Dam/ Mali Huriye (I Don't Have Freedom)/ Ihda'/ Redcircle Music
5. Aburedwan, Ramzi/ Tahrir (Liberation)/ Reflections Of Palestine/ Riverboat Records
4. Maryam/ Watan El Akk/ Mosh Baghani/ Cd Baby
3. Malhas, Hana (ft Yazan Al Rousan)/ Trooh/ Shapeshift/ Hana Malhas
2. Mashrou' Leila/ Fasateen/ Mashrou' Leila/ B-Root Productions
1. El Khalil, Omeima/ Ouhibbouka Akthar/ Ya/ Forward Music

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yasmine Hamdan at El Genaina Theater (Egypt) on August 9-10

Yasmine Hamdan will be performing live at El Genaina Theater (Egypt) on,Thursday and Friday, August 9-10. For more see Event page on Facebook at this link or read below:

Yasmine Hamdan - Lebanon
Thursday and Friday, August 9-10

Writer, Composer and singer, Yasmine Hamdan was born in Beirut. She formed the indie electro-duo group “Soapkills” along with Zeid Hamdan in 1998. Between 1998 and 2005, Soapkills released 4 albums including a Live recording.. Her encounter in 2005 with Mirwais Ahmadzaï, the electronic music producer who composed Madonna’s album “Music”, results in the birth of Y.A.S. In 2009 she released her album “Arabology” by Universal Music.
In September 2011, Marc Collin and Yasmine met in Marc’s studio, Yasmine brought along some songs she’d written and some of her favorite rare Arabic classics. Their collaboration goes beyond the mere idea of making a remix, not a tribute nor a modernization, but rather a remote memory of a melody.

Ticket: 20 EGP (Excluding Park admission)

Al Azhar Park - Salah Salem rd. - Darassa
For more info please visit our website:
or call: 02 23637081

Yasmine Hamdan, Mike Massy, Adonis, Jadal, Marcel Khalife on KZSU Stanford 90.1 FM's World Charts

Yasmine Hamdan's new album peaked at number 18 on the World Charts (Most Airplay) for KZSU 90.1 FM (Stanford University) for the week ending in July 1, 2012). That same week saw four other Arabic CD's in the Top 20 World Charts including Mike Massy's album at number 13, Lebanese band Adonis at number 13, Jordanian group/band JadaL at number 11 and Marcel Khalife at number 17.

See screen capture below or go to THIS LINK.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yasmine Hamdan's New Video Clip 'Samar': A Visual Treat

Singer/songwriter Yasmine Hamdan ( has become an icon in the underground scene of Lebanese. Three years ago, Yasmine Hamdan was knows as Y.A.S., duo she dormed with Mirwais. Now she's back with a solo album, produced by Marc Collin reminding us of one of the greatest productions of the fifties and sixties in Beirut or Cairo, also of the latest and sexy CHOUBI Iraq, or the soulful Samri Kuwait. Arab melodies, sometimes complex or tonal, rest here on very simple chords with pop tonalities.

Here is her new video clip 'Samar' (official video) from her latest album:

Yasmine Hamdan - Samar ·
Lyrics: Yasmine Hamdan ·
Music: Marc Collin / Yasmine Hamdan produced by Marc Collin

Directed by Harvey B. Brown @HarveyBBrown
Directs stuff and fabulizes people and things :
Produced by Alain Dib
Co-Produced by (c) 2012 Satellite my love - Kwaidan Records

Album : "Yasmine Hamdan" on release on May 21
Kwaidan Records / IDOL - Order Yasmine Hamdan on :
· Samar (single) on iTunes :
· iTunes FR :
· Qobuz :
· Album available on Amazon, Spotify, Deezer, ...

Singer/songwriter Yasmine Hamdan ( has become an icon in the underground scene of Lebanese. Three years ago, Yasmine Hamdan was knows as Y.A.S., duo she dormed with Mirwais. Now she's back with a solo album, produced by Marc Collin reminding us of one of the greatest productions of the fifties and sixties in Beirut or Cairo, also of the latest and sexy CHOUBI Iraq, or the soulful Samri Kuwait. Arab melodies, sometimes complex or tonal, rest here on very simple chords with pop tonalities.

Yasmine Hamdan - Kwaidan Records ♩ SoundCloud

Special thanks: Nadim Asfar - Satellite my love Production, Alain Dib, Harvey B. Brown, Mamali Shafah, Rafic Majzoub.

Follow Yasmine @YasHamdan ·


Standard YouTube License

Monday, June 25, 2012

My Review of Yasmine Hamdan's New CD

Hamdan, Yasmine / Yasmine Hamdan
Album:Yasmine Hamdan Collection:World
Artist:Hamdan, Yasmine Added:06/2012
Label:Kwaidan Records 

Album Review
Reviewed by Ramzi Salti, Ph.D.
Reviewed 2012-06-13 
Yasmine Hamdan's self titled CD cements the solo career of this Lebanese female vocalist who has already achieved much musical success as part of such Arab alternative bands as 'Soapkills' and 'YAS.'  In this album, she includes new songs plus old Arabic classics, re-recorded with her own voice, while making them distinctly experimental, grungy, disturbing, yet completely appealing. CD is produced by Marc Collin.

1. In Kan Fouadi (3:47) Old Egyptian song in classical arabic. Very trance-like.
**2. Beirut (3:30) Based on a Lebanese song from the 1940s and set to 12-string guitar melody.
3. Samar (3:27) Has a Beduin feel. Sounds like a chant. Echoing vocals.
4. Baaden (3:26) Hypnotic tune sung with a Egyptian/ Palestinian dialect.
5. Ya Nass (3:15) Slow, rhythmic song calling out to people for help.
6. Irss (2:38) Song title means 'wedding.' Sung in Kuwaiti dialect. The most joyful track on this CD.
**7. Nediya (3:55) Whispery vocals set to thumping beat, slow but passionate. Picks up and slows down again.
8. Nag (3:41) Song about a relationship gone wrong. Sounds tense, slow, and gives the listener a sense of urgency. Builds up to faster rhythm.
9. Shouei (3:34) Ballad with string guitar and dreamy vocals about 'slowing down.'
10. La Mouch (3:32) Melancholic song about refusing to return to a past love. Instantly likable beat.
**11. Bala Tantanat (3:58). Title means 'Without Ceremony.' Starts out very slow giving way to breathy verses and eventual crescendo of back vocals.

My picks: 2, 7, 11

Track Listing
1.In Kan Fouadi 6.Irss
2.Beirut 7.Nediya
3.Samar 8.Nag
4.Baaden 9.Shouei
5.Ya Nass 10.La Mouch
 11.Bala Tantanat

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Yasmine Hamdan Feature in the New York Times

This article was originally publsihed in The New York Times on April 12, 2012 (all rights reserved) at

Arabic Music's Modern Voice

PARIS — It was a familiar Paris hipster scene. The crowd behind the discrete façade of the Tigre club in the First Arrondissement were in skinny jeans with carefully tousled hair and clutching expensive drinks. Marc Collin, co-founder of the cult electropop collective Nouvelle Vague was setting up vintage keyboards on a tiny stage. The female drummer picked up her drumsticks and the skinny-cool guitarist settled into place. Then the singer, in jeans and a black vest, looking out from behind long dark hair, took the mic and began to sing.

In preparation for the release of her new, self-named album, the Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan was doing a small gig in Paris, and as the crowd swayed to the music, their eyes fixed on the stage, it didn’t seem to matter if only 10 percent of the people there understood the words she was singing.

As with her past work — which includes the groundbreaking underground Beirut duo Soapkills, an album with the legendary Paris musician Mirwais, who produced Madonna’s album “Music,” and a collaboration with the alternative American rock group CocoRosie — Ms. Hamdan is looking again to bring Arabic singing out of the field of world music and into the musical mainstream.

“I love Arabic culture, and I hate how the Arab world is portrayed in the press today,” she said in an interview after a rehearsal last month in a cafe in the 10th Arrondissement. “I sing in Arabic as a statement. It’s art and it’s a challenge.”

Born in Beirut in 1976 and with a childhood moving between Lebanon, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Greece, Ms. Hamdan first found success in Beirut in 1998 playing in partnership with Zeid Hamdan (no relation) as the duo Soapkills. Part of the generation growing up after the Lebanese civil war ended in 1990, they named their duo after the idea that the city’s troubled history was being glided over too quickly.

“All the war being wiped clean, we thought, wow, it’s shiny and it’s awful and it’s soap kills,” Mr. Hamdan said in an interview with the local Daily Star. “We thought it would be a nice name for a band.”

A mainstay of the underground scene, the band mixed ragged electro beats with Ms. Hamdan’s husky deadpan vocals, which, from early on, were sung in Arabic.

“At the start I sang in English, but quickly I found myself asking why,” she said. “I felt intuitively that there was a gap to fill and also that it gave me a freedom — singing in Arabic but in my own way.”

At first she was rejected by radio stations in Lebanon. “It was seen as not cool. Either you sang traditional Arabic folk music or you sang rock in English,” she explained.

But the band quickly began to achieve cult status in the city. Major European and Arabic labels and producers approached Ms. Hamdan, offering contracts and mainstream success — if she would sing in English. She refused.

“This way of singing was a way of addressing the problems I had with having a sense of not belonging,” she said. “I was lost as a teenager. I had to reconstitute my memories. We moved around so much. Arabic music created my reference points, it’s thanks to that that I know where I am from.”

In 2002 she moved to Paris, where she continued making music with Soapkills, did a degree in performing arts and met the Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, who is now her husband. She started writing music for his films and through him met the producer Mirwais in 2005. Intrigued by her work, he agreed to collaborate on the album “Arabology,” produced by Universal, which came out in 2009 to critical and popular acclaim.

Despite one of the album’s songs being picked out as a title track for a French television news program, the music magazine Les Inrockuptibles, normally allergic to anything that smacks of mainstream, picked “Arabology” as one of its albums of the summer.

“You quickly forget that it is a popular hit,” the magazine wrote, “and simply celebrate this mix of electro and Arabic, an exercise in style that avoids the pitfalls of dodgy world music.”

But, for Ms. Hamdan, who had grown up creating music from a more grass-roots perspective, the experience of working with a major producer and label was one that she was happy to move on from.

“When I worked with Mirwais, it brought me out of the local scene,” she said. “It taught me how to mix Arabic with electro, it really pushed me to work with words. But Mirwais was the musical leader of the project, so it was a varied experience.”

After the publicity and touring linked to “Arabology” died down, she took time off to write more songs, dig through her archive of Arabic music stretching from the 1930s to the ’60s, and travel to the United States, where she worked with members of CocoRosie recording the song “The Moon Asked the Crow,” which has become a YouTube hit. Last September she started work on a new album in collaboration with Mr. Collin.

“I learned a lot working with Mirwais, and with Marc, I knew more what I wanted to produce, he is very relaxed,” she said. “With this new album, I wanted to go back to something calmer, more about the voice, mixing different Arabic dialects. The electro side comes from Marc.”

Roughly half of the songs in the album were composed and written by Ms. Hamdan, while the others are “freely inspired” from old Arabic songs.

“Beirut,” for example, is based on a Lebanese song from the 1940s. “My great aunt sang it to me all the time,” Ms. Hamdan said. While the original has a cabaret-style vibe, Ms. Hamdan’s version is melancholic and almost folky, set to a 12-string guitar melody by the guitarist Kevin Sedikki.

“I sing ‘Beirut’ for what the city is for me, but I am also singing as an exile,” she said. “It’s an impossible love.”

Ms. Hamdan has set two challenges for herself in her music. She is looking to pull Arabic-language music out of any politicized “world music” or kitschy, synthetically-made pop categories and into the hip music sphere. At the same time, by reworking old Arabic songs, she wants to keep music from the Arabic “golden age” of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s alive.

“There was no archiving at the time of old Arabic songs, they were hard to find,” she said. “When I started to collect old music, I had to search out underground dealers. Not everything was easy to find in Lebanon, so sometimes I would go to Syria to find more music.”

Ms. Hamdan mixes different dialects and forms of Arabic in her singing, inspired by performers who include the Lebanese-Syrian singer Asmahan, and the Egyptian singers Nagat El Saghira, Oum Kalthoum and Sayed Darwish. In her latest album, for example, “Beirut” is sung in a Lebanese dialect, “Baaden” is Egyptian and Palestinian, “Irss” is Kuwaiti, “In Kan Fouadi” is Egyptian and “Samar” is Bedouin.

“When the public doesn’t understand me, it’s a battle,” she said. “So when I choose words, I choose them for their musicality, rhythm and sense, and I choose the right dialect to express that.”

Asked whether she had been inspired by the youth movement behind the Arab Spring, she was circumspect.

“We have had neither enough distance nor enough time to work out what it means,” she said. “I was very happy when it happened, I was angry with the authorities in the region and I felt less alone in that. But I don’t think it is finished. Time will make things happen, it can’t just be revolution, change also needs time.”

In the meantime, her immediate plans include the release of “Yasmine Hamdan” in France on April 23 on Mr. Collin’s label, Kwaidan, followed by a release in the Middle East over the summer and tour dates beginning with a gig at Comedy Club in Paris on May 7. In addition, the song “Herzan” by Soapkills has been topping the playlist of Radio Nova, one of the most influential French mainstream radio stations, since last autumn. In addition, Zeid Hamdan, Ms. Hamdan’s former partner in the duo, had a four-page article dedicated to his new work as a music producer in Les Inrockuptibles this month. For Ms. Hamdan, however, the battle to be accepted is not yet won.

“It’s complicated for my music to be accepted, even in Lebanon and the Arabic world — I sing in Arabic, but there’s no lute, no classical instruments,” she said. “Maybe with the Internet opening things up, things will change.”

“I’m inspired by the Cocteau Twins,” she added hopefully, referring to the alternative Scottish rock band, whose lyrics were purposefully indecipherable. “No one questioned what or why they were singing.”

This article was originally publsihed in The New York Times (all rights reserved) at

Friday, June 8, 2012

French Interview with Yasmine Hamdan in 'Stiletto'


Elle sortait il y a trois ans un album, en duo avec Mirwaïs, sous le nom Y.A.S. Auteur, compositeur et interprète, originaire de Beyrouth, Yasmine Hamdan défend aujourd’hui un projet en solo, qui porte son nom, portée par sa voix vibrante, presque liquide. Un voyage dans l’Orient des années cinquante et soixante, celui des grandes productions, enregistrées à Beyrouth, au Caire, en Irak ou au Koweit. Des titres qu’elle a dénichés dans sa propre collection de disques oubliés, des mélodies dont elle s’empare, qu’elle répète et qu’elle étire jusqu’à en obtenir quelque chose de parfaitement moderne. Entretien.

Comment est né ce projet?
J'avais déjà commencé à travailler sur certaines chansons pendant que je faisais la promo pour mon album précédent, Y.A.S. J'avais envie de revenir vers quelque chose de plus acoustique, de travailler sur des morceaux où la voix serait au centre, avec de fortes mélodies et des chœurs. J'ai passé 3 mois aux Etats Unis l'année dernière, avec des musiciens et musiciennes, j'en suis revenue avec pleins d'envies. Cela m'a beaucoup ouvert les oreilles.

Dans quelle mesure cet album est-il plus personnel que le précédent?
J'ai suivi mes intuitions. Marc Collin (avec qui j'ai fait cet album) avait la sensibilité, le talent et la réceptivité nécessaire pour m'aider à pousser dans les directions que je proposais. Je travaille de manière assez «bordélique», mais en même temps très libre. Je sais ce que je n'aime pas d'abord. Je découvre ensuite, en tâtonnant et en collaborant, là où le morceau a naturellement besoin d'aller. J'ai voulu dans cet album mettre en avant les mélodies, avoir une musique au service de la voix. Marc a un vrai talent pour assimiler les envies des artistes tout en restant extrêmement créatif et ouvert au dialogue. Il a une grande curiosité musicale, il est épanoui dans ce qu'il fait et cela est très inspirant. Nous avons essayé des choses, nous n'avions aucune contrainte (de single, de formatage). Nous savions aussi que ce que nous faisions ne ressemblait à rien : nous étions donc assez libres au final.

Comment vous êtes-vous emparé de ces morceaux traditionnels, d’Omar El Zenne, d’Aisha El Marta? S’agit-il de reprises? de souvenirs?
Certaines de ces chansons sont des souvenirs d'enfance, surtout les chansons koweitiennes. Quand je les ai retrouvées sur internet, j'ai senti que j'étais tombée sur une mine d'or. Je collectionne depuis des années des vieux morceaux arabes, je m'intéresse à tous les genres ou styles musicaux de la région. Je suis régulièrement en recherche, cela me nourrit. J'adore dénicher des artistes ou des chansons peu connus, oubliés, politiques, érotiques, de l'époque…
Ensuite, je choisis certaines chansons quand je sens qu'elles peuvent m'appartenir. Je les kidnappe en quelque sorte. Je me donne la liberté de les ancrer dans le contexte actuel, mon présent, mes envies, mes influences musicales. Je les transforme, change les structures, retravaille parfois les mélodies. Ce sont souvent des morceaux traditionnels, donc dans le domaine public. En fait, j'ai peut être un peu un rôle de "passeur", je ramène les chansons du passé à un présent, je le fais avec respect tout en exerçant ma liberté d'artiste.

Si vous deviez exprimer votre émotion du moment par une musique?
En ce moment j'écoute Lee Hazelwood, Barbara, Brassens, et certaines radios indies sur le net.

Le morceau qui vous rappelle votre enfance à Beyrouth?
J'ai toujours eu un rapport à la fois d'étrangeté et de familiarité avec ma ville natale et mon pays. J'ai grandi un peu partout. Mais la voix de Feyrouz a représenté pour moi comme un symbole identitaire. Comme pour beaucoup de gens en exil, elle a assuré un lien, une douceur, une fragilité, une humanité qui faisait chaud au cœur et faisait oublier les atrocités de la guerre. Je pense avoir ressentie ma première émotion musicale en écoutant sa voix, quand ma mère me parlait de son/mon pays que je connaissais peu à ce moment-là.

L’album Yasmine Hamdan, déjà disponible en digital, sort physiquement le 7 mai 2012. Produit par Marc Collin (Kwaidan)

Le 24 Avr 2012, par Karine Porret

Monday, May 14, 2012

Yasmine Hamdan to Release New Album on May 21, 2012

Yasmine Hamdan's new self-titled album will be released on May 21 ( Kwaidan records/ Idol)

Here is a song from the album titled Beirut:


شرب العرق
شرب العرق
لعب الورق
خيل السبق
صيد الحمام
رسمال بيروت

لبس الغوى
شم الهوى
اكل الهوى
شاغل عقول
سكان بيروت

زهرة من غير أوانها
محلاها ومحلا زمانها
يا حينها وياضيعانها

ما في عمل
ما في امل
برك الجمل
ركب النحس
تجار بيروت

كتر البطر 
هالك بيروت

Arak drinkin'
Card playin'
Race Horse cheerin'

Pigeon huntin'

The essence of Beirut
Seduction crowd

Cruisin' around
Foolin' about

Tis' all there is on the minds
Of the citizens of Beirut
 A flower off its terrain
Oh her beauty, her good old days

That dire end, all a waste

All unemployed
Hopeless, ruined and Rusted
Jinxed and accursed
Those dealers of Beirut
Oh the Strutting
That fancy livin'
Excess of splurging
Exploded vanity
Smothering Beirut

Kwaidan Records - Pre-order Yasmine Hamdan on iTunes
FR :
US :

Lyrics: Omar el Zenni
Music: Kevin Seddiki / Yasmine Hamdan
produced by Marc Collin / Kwaidan records

Director : Antonin Fourlon
(c) 2012 Contrejour Films - Kwaidan Records

Listen to the album on Deezer :

Special thanks: Nadim Asfar - Satellite my love Production, Alain Dib, Maxime Setzer, Mamali Shafah, Rafic Majzoub

Album France : "Yasmine Hamdan" -
Digital release april 23th ( Kwaidan records/ Idol)
Physical release april 23th ( Kwaidan records/ Idol)

Follow @YasHamdan @Kwaidan_records on Twitter!

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