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Thawra Records & Found Sound Nation
Global artist collective Found Sound Nation (FSN) & Lebanese independent label Thawra Records present a 3-part co-release highlighting a series of collaborative works that were conceived in the summer of 2021, as part of FSN’s OneBeat Lebanon music residency, that took place in what could be described as a “post-apocalyptic” Beirut landscape, as the city was reeling from the collective trauma of the devastating August 4th blast and the collapse of the nation.
The series brings together Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian & American musicians, and is at once a celebration of cultural diversity and unity while serving as a form of collective therapy and a statement of existence to a community of artists who have, against all odds and despite the trauma and the challenges, continued to create.
While each release is unique in its style and genre, all three embody engaging themes that intuitively touch upon the collective traumas and injustices echoed across the region. Themes that challenge cultural identity and reflect the tumultuous and multifaceted experience of the modern Arab person, that relates to all marginalised, censored and oppressed people. With this series, we aim to celebrate and nurture a thriving musical community, still breathing despite the grief, and that has a lot to say and even more to offer.
The first part of the series is a collaboration between Beirut-based singer-songwriter Mayssa Jallad & Syrian musician & producer Khaled Allaf called “Madina min Baeed”. With this work, they showcase class and a refined electronic composition and production that is at once minimal, and yet teeming with texture & depth. Expertly delivering the goods with a sharp trip-hop groove married to ominous and haunting Synth lines, painting an accurate picture of the uneasy Beirut air. Together, Jallad & Allaf create an enchanting and entrancing piece, which at first glance may seem flirtatious and inviting, while in truth, captures the tired voice of a city on the brink, where the shadows and lessons of the past are only illuminated by the scarce light of a hopeful future.
The second release is the 2-track collaborative EP “Galah Waji” by Palestinian traditional Arabic singer Salwa Jaradat & Lebanon’s wizard of Electronica Etyen.
With “Galah Waji”, the pair each explore their new uncharted territories, marrying the futuristic with the traditional in a clear juxtaposition that embodies the antithesis of the Arab cultural identity.
Finally, for the third and final release in the ‘Thawra Records & Found Sound Nation’ co-release series, 4 expert musicians join forces to present the collaborative project “Baada Ab” (“After August”), a “super-group” of musicians formed by Mayssa Jallad (Safar), Omaya Malaeb (Mashrou’ Leila), Dani Shukri (Tanjaret Daghet) and Ezra Tenenbaum (Ezra T/Onebeat).
The EP features two meaningful and impactful songs “Bi Kheir” and “Fil Aatma", both being a genuine and honest reflection of the collective shared experience and trauma of a people following the August 4 blast, its aftermath, and the simultaneous collapse of the Lebanese state.
“Bi Kheir”, meaning “I’m okay”, captures the voices of the survivors in the few moments after the explosion, recounting each of the first conversations that the band members had with family and friends after surviving one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in human history. The looming question is “am I really okay?”.
In turn, “Fil Aatma”, or “in the dark”, portrays a desensitised people, waiting for answers, stuck in a surreal realisation of total loss of control and agency, displaced from reality, and watching time go by, like shadows in the dark.
With its expertly measured lyrical and musical performances, ‘Baada Ab’ is a beautiful ode to the souls that were lost, the grieving souls, and essentially, the artists’ way of expressing and dealing with their grief while echoing the thoughts of all those surviving in Lebanon today.
Mayssa Jallad & Khaled Allaf - Madina min Baeed
1. Madina min Baeed
Etyen & Salwa Jaradat - Galah Waji EP
1. Galah Waji
2. Ensa El Khellani
Baada Ab - Baada Ab EP
1. Bi Kheir
2. Fil Aatma