#5 Mashrou’ Leila – LEBANON

27 Jul

Embembelela – Mashrou Leila

Beirut’s underground music scene has been steadily taking root since the mid 90’s. The Basement, a local club serves as the epicenter for Lebanese alternative music – it’s slogan, “It’s Safer Underground”, is reference to the Israeli air-strikes through out the 2000’s.

The bands name, Mashrou Leila, is Arabic for ʻan overnight projectʼ and started out as a music workshop at the American University of Beirut in 2008. Embembelela is the main lyric in this song and is borrowed from a Lebanese nursery rhyme.

“[The band] wanted to turn this nursery rhyme around and turn it into some sort of satirical comment on materialistic tendencies in Lebanon,” Ziad Nawfal tells All Things Considered host Michele Norris. “How people are driven by greed, by money — how a nursery rhyme, using the same words, can be turned into something quite dark and brooding rather than soothing and lyrical.”

Ziad Nawfal is a DJ with Radio Lebanon, and also hosts a series of live shows across Beirut.

Mashrou Leila, Homepage


4 Responses to “#5 Mashrou’ Leila – LEBANON”

  1. Jamie July 29, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    What a fabulous idea for a blog. Just subscribed via RSS. What’s your process for picking the artists and songs you feature?

    • unboundedsong July 30, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

      Thanks Jamie! I spend a lot of time in used record stores and reading blogs like http://awesometapesfromafrica.blogspot.com/, where people are digging around through music stores in their countires.

      I’m really just learning, the blog is opening me up to all kinds of music I never knew about.


      • Jamie July 30, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

        Awesome Tapes from Africa is how I found your blog!

        Well if you are at a loss, please visit my blog: alwaysmoretohear.com. I’ve noticed that you definitely pick artists with a good interesting back story as well as make good music.

        May I suggest checking out, when you get to Saudi Arabia, the AccoLade: http://www.alwaysmoretohear.com/2008/12/accolade-and-souad-massi-muslim-women.html Their music isn’t Saudi really (which might not go along with what you’re doing here) but they have a super awesome story.

        Anyway, keep it up! Can’t wait for more!

  2. baby August 14, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    Nice website!!

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