On Friday 24 October at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Arab British Centre and the Nour Festival presented the UK première of ‘Aswaat in Lebanon,’ a self-produced, semi-experimental film by Aymeric Cattenoz. The film explores the alternative music scene in Lebanon through thoughtful interviews with musicians, intimate home concerts, and spontaneous music played in the streets of Beirut.
Director Aymeric Cattenoz has put together a series of mixtapes for the Nour Festival blog, of songs featured in his film.
Click on the link below to listen to Mixtape #2, and read on for more about the tracks and artists.
“Anyway” by Sandmoon
“Anyway” is a song from Sandmoon’s latest album, “Home,” released in 2013. This indie pop/folk band self-produced their first album, “raW,” which was released in 2010, and in the years since has redefined themselves through gigs in and around Beirut, incorporating new members and new sounds. The songs on “Home” are filled with sensitivity and sadness, yet also with joyous and crazy tribulations. Sandmoon is also famous for their wonderful video clips. More Sandmoon.
“Crumbs” by Monumental Detail
Crumbs is a song from Monumental Detail’s latest album, “Green Bees,” released in 2013. Monumental Detail is one of the many bands by wonderful musician Charif Megarbane, who also goes by the name Cosmic Analog Ensemble. This jazzy, rock album was recorded in Nairobi, Kenya. Listen to Green Bees.
“Settle it Out”, by Lazzy Lung
Settle it out is a song from Lazzy Lung’s latest album, “Sailor’s Delight,” which was released in 2013 and named one of the top 3 unsigned albums of the year by Rolling Stone Magazine Middle East. Lazzy Lung started as a solo project in Ottawa by Allan Chaaraoui in 2006, and today is known as one of the best rock band in the Middle East. Lazzy (pronounced ‘Lazy’) Lung released their first album, “Strange Place” in 2010. More Lazzy Lung.
“Time to Go” by Wanton Bishops
“Time to Go” is a song from the Wanton Bishops’ debut album, “Sleeping with the Lights On,” released in December 2012. This two-piece blues and rock revival band was founded in a meeting between Eddy and Nader in a blues bar in Beirut over cheap tequila. The Wanton Bishops have toured all around the Middle East and in Europe, and have had huge success in Lebanon. More Wanton Bishops.
“Girls on Fire” by The Scrambled Eggs
“Girls on Fire” (video here) is a song from the album “Dedicated To Foes Celebrating Friends.” The Scrambled Eggs has become one of the most respected rock band in Lebanon and the Middle East since their debut in the late 1990s. They released three full-length albums between 2002 and 2004, a 6-track EP in 2006, as well as soundtracks for two films “A Perfect Day” (2005) and “Je Veux Voir” (2008), and have also done experimental collaborations with various Lebanese and foreign musicians. In 2010, they released a collection of B-sides and unreleased démos entitled “Peace is Overrated & War Misunderstood.” More Scrambled Eggs.
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If you’re looking for a chance to hear more Lebanese alternative music live, don’t miss ETYEN in performance at the Flyover Portobello tonight, Friday 21 November, at 9pm. Beirut-based musician and producer ETYEN makes ambient indie electronic music blending vocals and instruments with electronic beats and melodies, making a link between his cultural heritage and a representation of contemporary music practices and progress. His tracks blend layers of warm melodic flurries and hazy vocals with electrifying beats, which at times morph into peaceful ambience that elevates the spirit into a serene state of being.
More information on the Nour Festival website.
Aymeric Cattenoz was born in Paris, where he studied at the Institute of Political Sciences before focusing on photography and filmmaking. Aymeric is interested in intercultural dialogue between Western countries and the Arab world, and intends that his projects promote mutual understanding. Follow his work here.
Elisabeth Jaquette is a writer, researcher and translator. Her translations from the Arabic have been published in The Book of Gaza (Comma Press 2014), Banipal Magazine and Words Without Borders. She is currently translating The Queue, a novel by Egyptian author Basma Abdel Aziz, which received a 2014 PEN Translates Award and will be published by Melville House. Follow her on twitter at @lissiejaquette.