This week Beirut will be injected with a dose of musical awesomeness as the Beirut & Beyond International Music Festival kicks off bringing you half a dozen incredible live performances by artists from Beirut, the Arab world, and well, beyond.

Here are six reasons to dedicate your week to discovering the music.

1. Maryam Saleh

(Photo via Atelier des Medias)

The young Egyptian singer-songwriter Maryam Saleh has been singing since she was 7, and she’s done it all; from rock, with her band BarakA, to trip hop, with Lebanese musician Zeid Hamdan, to classical Oriental, with her own renditions of celebrated Egyptian musician Sheikh Imam’s repertoire, all in Egyptian dialect Arabic.

Catch Maryam Saleh Thursday at the AUB Assembly Hall where she will present a set of her very own politically-charged and thoughtful compositions. The lineup also includes Iraqi oud player Khayyam Allami and Tunisian musician Jawhar.

2. Jagwa Music

(Photo via Mehdi Benkler)

Hailing from Tanzania, this lively 6-person musical outfit is something to behold. With origins dating back to 1992 from the poverty-stricken suburbs of Dar es Salaam, Jagwa Music features two keyboard players, on defunct Casio keyboards mind you (none of that fancy stuff here), providing minimal electronic melodies laced with feedback and distortion, two tireless percussionists who even play self-made instruments, a charismatic frontman singing and chanting about day-to-day street life, and an energetic dancer keeping that adrenaline pumping.

Jagwa Music will be setting Metro Al Madina on fire Friday, following a performance by Norwegian musicians Trygve Seim (saxophone) and Frode Haltli (accordion), joined by special guest, Lebanese singer Oumeima el Khalil.

3. El Rass, El Far3i, and Munma

(Photo via Soundcloud)

Lebanese rapper El Rass has made a name for himself in the region for his razor-sharp wit and relentless lyrical fury. Jordanian musician and rapper El Far3i has found success as both a singer-songwriter as well as a rapper, singing about matters of everyday life while taking on a more socio-political persona as a rapper. Lebanese producer Munma got his start in experimental electronica, but in 2011, leapt into the Arab hip-hop spotlight by producing El Rass’s equally experimental debut album, and has been working with rappers ever since. All three artists have collaborated in the past, giving birth to some of Arabic rap’s most thought-provoking material.

El Rass, El Far3i, and Munma join forces once again and take to the stage Friday at Yukunkun, followed by a live set of cutting-edge electronica by Egyptian artist Maurice Louca followed by DJ sets by DJ Jonjay and Wriggly Scott.

4. Wriggly Scott and Toofless

(Photo via Another Music)

Toofless is a UAE-based English language MC of Sudanese origin. He began rapping at the age of 17, initially part of forward-thinking socially-conscious hip hop collective Diligent Thought, though today he pursues a career as a solo artist. Toofless’ lyrics are full of wordplay and metaphors, calling back to the old school hip hop style. Wriggly Scott is a British hip hop DJ and producer who moved to Dubai in 2004 and has been contributing to the growth of its hip hop scene ever since, working with various rappers across the region, including Toofless.

Toofless and Wriggly Scott will be at Radio Beirut Saturday for the launch of Toofless’ first ever full-fledged solo release the Neospectice Glitch EP, along with a lineup of Beirut Groove Collective DJs that includes DJ Yukah, Disco Samurai, Natalie “Baby” Shooter, and Rami O.

5. Tarek Yamani Trio

(Photo via Tarek Yamani)

Lebanese-born jazz pianist Tarek Yamani was first exposed to jazz at the age of 19. His repertoire includes everything from traditional Arabic and Brazilian pieces to jazz standards. He has played all over the world and earned numerous awards and honors including first prize in the 2010 Thelonius Monk International Jazz Composer’s Competition for his composition Sama’I Yamani, as well as being among 32 international musicians invited to the UN headquarters in New York in 2012 to participate in the inauguration of International Jazz Day.

Jazz fans can catch Tarek Yamani live Saturday at Yukunkun accompanied by Goran Krmac (tuba) and Kristijan Krajncan (drums), followed by a DJ set by DJ Ziad Nawfal.

6. Tanjaret Daghet

(Photo via International Business Times)

The Syrian post-rock trio known as Tanjaret Daghet are one of Arabic rock’s latest champions and a breath of fresh air to the Middle Eastern musical landscape. Ever since their inception in Beirut in 2011, the band, whose name translates to Pressure Pot, have been winning over audiences in Beirut and the region with their powerful material, which conveys a great deal emotion.

Feel the pressure for yourself Sunday at DRM, along with Palestinian singer-songwriter Tamer Abu Ghazaleh and Congolese artist Baloji and his band L’Orchestre de la Katuba.

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