All posts filed under “Music

Yasmine Hamdan

Oh! You Pretty Things

Wonder woman Yasmine Hamdan takes a breather to give the lowdown on her new album

‘I just got my French passport’, says Yasmine Hamdan with a small burst of excitement, the night before her appearance at The Music Room in Dubai. ‘I’m attached to Paris, actually, but I do not want to belong’, she remarks as we discuss the concepts of belonging and inclusion. ‘I would rather live on the margin – and I feel more comfortable living there, not belonging to a place’. I ask her why. ‘Because,’ she responds, ‘I cannot pretend that I know how to do that. I’m not sure I know what it’s like to belong to one place.’

A myth exists around Hamdan. She performs at what some commentators have described as the ‘intersection of sexy electronica and iconic Arab tradition’, and is controversial in some quarters for this very reason. She is not scared to say things, or to talk about sexuality or eroticism. She is also unwilling to let herself be controlled by the codes and rules of traditional Arabic music. In short, she is unwilling to censor or to be something that she is not. Indeed, the starting point for many of the lyrics on her new album, Al Jamilat (The Beautiful Ones), emerged from encounters with ex-criminals, perverts, war fighters, gigolos, poets, and drug addicts, all of whom have, admits Hamdan, inspired her in some way. ‘Their anger echoes a sense of hopelessness, and the mixed feelings I have regarding the ongoing turmoil in Lebanon and the region’.

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Pashto Pop

Pirate Modernity

Perwana Nazif talks to Timothy P.A. Cooper and Abeera Arif Bashir of London’s Pirate Modernity radio programme about their search for some of Afghanistan’s funkiest sounds on tape

Islam Chipsy

High Voltage

Nicolas Gilles, a Frenchman living and working in Cairo, looks at the Egyptian musical phenomenon that is ‘electro-chaabi‘ and contrasts its trajectory with that of hip-hop in France

Asli Dogan

Dancing in the Street

Ezgi Üstündağ talks to Aslı Doğan and Richard Laniepce of the Turkish group Kolektif Istanbul about their infectious blend of göbek atmak and making it big in the city

Qais Essar

Raag and Roll

Joobin Bekhrad chats with Afghan musician Qais Essar about his latest album, Tavern of Ruin, and how he’s been giving the music of the robab a contemporary kick

Firas Abou Fakher

Here Comes the Night

Paola Messina and Mashrou’ Leila multi-instrumentalist Firas Abou Fakher spend some quiet time together, discussing space, silence, and the band’s latest album