Mashrouʼ Leila is not a bandʼs name. It is not a proper noun per se; Mashrouʼ Leila is Arabic for ʻan overnight projectʼ lusting out a microphone, a violin, a bass, two guitars, drums and keyboards. It started out as a music workshop at the American University of Beirut in 2008, an open platform for students of architecture and design, somewhere to experiment with sounds and make things audible. Haig Papazian, Carl Gerges, Hamed Sinno, Omaya Malaeb, Andre Chedid, Firas Abou Fakher and Ibrahim Badr have enjoyed this sound fetish savoring its façade of nonchalance and feeding on its lack of genre – sustaining their collective as Mashrouʼ Leila, an experiment.

You can hear Leila, cascading melts of masculine vocals only suspended with thrusts of violin, beats and bass – attacked by neurotic melody that means no harm – sometimes tender, even sometimes on pause. Through the music, you can smell where Leila has been, in bed sheets, on sidewalks, jasmines in rifles and spilled coffee on dresses as she made you play with aubergines, dancing her dance. Music has constantly been their place to play with things, to match and mis-match, a project.

In the various performances, Mashrouʼ Leila is a constant attempt to taste and produce, more than happy to harvest anyone from the audience as a guest in their encores. They have performed around Lebanon since 2008, playing in various venues in Beirut, taking over supposed public piazzas as well as clubs, pubs, hybrids and the such – they also played in Zahle, Sour, Jounieh, Saida and Deir el Qamar, each of which pushed forward their thinking about how to go about their music, lyrics and performance. It is only when Mashrouʼ Leila goes live, that you can actually catch a glimpse of Leila. As it talks to you of Beirut, the city that tastes of the absurd, the product of its day-to-day experiences, its stubborn security and lack of the latter, its musical bombshells, incoherent sexuality and thrusting pleasure…narcotic pain – as it brings forward hints of Arabic Tarab, rock, to folk pop, electro, you can see Leila in every man and woman in the silent- come-raving audience. In this trajectory, they participated in music workshops and concerts in Amman and Cairo to maneuver their way into a pan-Arab music scene, to know and to announce, more importantly to grow, musically.

In March 2009, Mashrouʼ Leila won the Lebanese Modern Music Contest jury prize and public vote organized by Radio Liban in partnership with CCF, Incognito and the Basement. They are currently recording their debut album with B-root Productions, to be released in December 2009. The music in the album is a reclamation of the aftertaste; sequel-ing a dose of Beirut.

Articles & Media

What Your Favorite Lebanese Band... Listomania on Jun 16, 2014
What Your Favorite Lebanese... Blog on Oct 1, 2013
Mashroua' Leila and Who Killed... #NowPlaying on Nov 18, 2013
Five Awesome Musical Moments... #NowPlaying on Dec 4, 2013
Five Hip Hop Artists You... Blog on Feb 17, 2014
Spotted: Haig Papazian on the... Blog on Jan 24, 2014
13 Reasons We Love Bearded... Blog on Jan 23, 2014
Eight of Our Favorite Lebanese... #NowPlaying on Nov 12, 2013
From Beirut to the Bay: A Talk... Interview on Oct 8, 2013
Album Review: Mashrou' Leila's... #NowPlaying on Sep 18, 2013
Mashrou' Leila Releases New... #NowPlaying on Sep 13, 2013
A Graffiti Homage to Ali... Street Credit on Aug 6, 2013
Mashrou' Leila Wants You To... Trending on Jul 4, 2013
Talent Without Ambition Is Like ... Stuff We Love on Mar 8, 2013
Spotted: Hamed Sinno on The... Hot off the Web on Nov 26, 2012
An Interview With Hamed Sinno Hot off the Web on Jan 2, 2013
Touch A New World...With Better ... #NowPlaying on Nov 29, 2012
Mashrou3 Leila: Artistic Suicide... Trending on Sep 6, 2012
Activists want Mashrou' Leila to... Trending on Sep 3, 2012
Mashrou' Leila Not Opening For... Hot off the Web on Sep 4, 2012

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