New compilation “Golden Beirut – New Sounds from Lebanon” explores Beirut’s diverse music scene (out 24 October)

New compilation "Golden Beirut - New Sounds from Lebanon" explores Beirut

Various Artists – "Golden Beirut – New Sounds from Lebanon"
CD (+ 20-page booklet)/ Download out 24 October 2011 on Out Here Records/ OH 020

A new look at Beirut and the diversity of today’s Arab world, full of self-irony, black humour and catchy melodies. Features 12 artists representing Beirut’s diverse music scene – from indie rock to electro to hard-hitting Palestinian hip-hop from the city’s refugee camps.

The 12 songs on Golden Beirut – New Sounds from Lebanon look at the Arab world through a new pair of glasses: Beirut’s underground. The compilation focuses on a young generation that is tired of war, fed up with politics, sick of religious madness and angry about Euro-American exoticism. It is keeping itself alive with electro beats, raw aggressive hip-hop or in-your-face indie rock. Together these musicians show a new picture of this war-shaken city and region and present a different Beirut.

“The Israelis just bombed our city because Beirut was suddenly cooler and hipper than Tel Aviv”, one musician joked in 2006. With lots of irony and black humour, Beirut’s alternative music scene often tries to neglect the fact that the city and the region is still full of problems, conflicts and contradictions. The scene does not get the same media attention the commercial pan-Arabic satellite-TV pop industry does, but is closely linked to the civil society networks that are of great importance in the ongoing revolutions in the Arab world in 2011. These artists show a new, open-minded city reminiscent in a way of the Golden Beirut of the 60s and 70s – only updated. In those “golden” years before the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990) Beirut used to be the hub towards the western world. Lebanese psychedelic rock bands entertained an international crowd in hip Beiruti clubs. In only a few years the city’s liberal reputation was shot to pieces during the civil war.

Golden Beirut brings together some of the most important voices in the alternative music scenes of Beirut whose music has nothing to do with propaganda, traditionalism or commercialism: Zeid Hamdan and his projects Shift Z and Soap Kills mix minimalist electronic sounds with soft Arab singing. The indie rock, post-punk and electro-pop bands Scrambled Eggs, The New Government and Lumi still know how to sweat on stage and create catchy songs. Hip-hop MC Lix aka Malikah, one of the best Lebanese female MCs, attacks stereotypes with full force. Katibe 5 rap about the Palestinian refugee camp they grew up in, and rapper Rayess Bek looks at life between Lebanon and France. Oud player und charismatic singer Ziad Sahhab opposes the strong connections between musicians, music and politics in Lebanon, while Praed and The Incompetents experiment with wedding music and lullabies. Last but not least, this CD features the up-and-coming satirical folk rock band Mashrou’ Leila, the first to slowly rise from underground hype to reaching wider audiences.

Golden Beirut was compiled by ethnomusicologist and journalist Thomas Burkhalter, founder of the music network Norient The photos in the booklet were shot by Tanya Traboulsi, an Austrian-Lebanese photographer living in Beirut.

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Name: Ilka Schlockermann
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