Formation and early years
The band was formed in February 2008 at the American University of Beirut, when violinist Haig Papazian, guitarist Andre Chedid and pianist Omaya Malaeb posted an open invitation to musicians looking to jam. Out of a dozen of people who answered the call, seven would remain to form Mashrou’ Leila. The workshop evolved into a hit band after playing in small venues, and gaining ground on the underground music circuit.
Mashrou’ Leila emerged onto Lebanon’s music scene during the 2008 “Fete de la Musique” (the yearly Music festival held by the Beirut municipality) sparking controversy for its unabashed and critical lyrics on Lebanese society, failed love, sexuality and politics. In 2009, at the same festival, Mashrou’ Leila played in front of a large following where fans moshed to their music in downtown Beirut. The band’s breakthrough single “Raksit Leila” (Leila’s dance) was awarded both the jury and popular awards at the Radio Liban’s ‘Modern Music Contest’ held at Basement (club) in March 2009. The first prize was a record deal. Mashrou’ Leila’s self-titled debut album produced by B-root Productions was released in December 2009 at a steel factory in Bourj Hammoud (a suburb of Beirut) where 1200 fans crowded the factory yard. The gig turned out to be Beirut’s biggest non-mainstream event in recent years and has been a big hit among Indie and Rock fans in Lebanon. The band’s concert at the Byblos International Festival on July 9, 2010 was one of the most anticipated events of the summer it was attended by scores of fans as well as the Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri.
Mashrou’ Leila’s current lineup consists of Haig Papazian on the Violin, Omaya Malaeb on keyboards, Carl Gerges on drums, Ibrahim Badr on bass guitar, Firas Abu-Fakhr and Andre Chedid on guitars, and HAMED SINNO as the lead vocalist.
Themes and style
Mashrou’ Leila’s entertaining themes and satirical Lebanese lyrics reflect the many faces and flaws of Lebanese society which are not addressed by mainstream Arabic music. The band is critical of the problems associated with life in Beirut and they are known for their liberal use of swear-words in some of their songs. Their debut album’s 9 songs wittily discuss subject matters such as lost love, war, politics, security and political assassination, materialism, immigration and homosexuality. “Latlit” one of the Mashrou’ Leila album tracks is a caricature of the Lebanese society overridden by gossip. Shem-el Yasmine “Smell the jasmine”, a song reminiscent to Jay Brannan’s “Housewife” was described as an ode to tolerance for same-sex love where a young man wants to introduce his bride to his parents but the bride turns out to be a groom. Some of the distinctive features of the band’s music is the prominence of the violin in passages redolent of Armenian folk music and the use of a megaphone in some songs to alter frontman Hamed Sinno’s voice.
Mashrou’ Leila (2009)
Edited by constellator on 3 Aug 2011, 12:39
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Generated from facts marked up in the wiki.
- Formed in
- Founded in
- Beirut, Lebanon
- Band Members
- Haig Papazian (2008 - )
- Omaya Malaeb (2008 - )
- Carl Gerges (2008 - )
- Ibrahim Badr (2008 - )
- Firas Abu-Fakhr (2008 - )
- Andre Chedid (2008 - )
- HAMED SINNO (2008 - )
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From other sources.
- Other spellings