In case you were hibernating for the past few years, there’s a civil war raging in Syria, and the people are suffering from a war that’s more international than local.
There’s little we know about the music scene in Syria, but it’s definitely not as active as the Lebanese one. However, there’s no shortage of bands nor talent over there, and some would even say that they release more original music than us Lebanese because of their stronger Arabic roots and the way they mix Arabic music with Western sounds, with the most common fusion is Arabic vocals sang along Western music like Rock, Metal, Rap, etc.
Fast forward to 2014 – the effects the Syrian war has on Lebanon are on full display, with the Syrians competing with the Lebanese over Lebanon’s limited resources. The music business is also adapting to this new situation as Syrian bands move into Lebanon to do what they love best – creating and performing music.
One of these bands is “Anas & Friends”, a group who launched in Lebanon after changing their name and identity to ACEED (meaning “Acid” in English) under the management of Harmony Music Productions. They are currently recording their first release under the newly adopted identity.
When asked about why they had a big launch in Lebanon and adopted a new identity, one of the band’s guitarists Anas Abd AlMoumen said: “Well we are more active in Beirut for two main reasons: first because of HMP, and second because it was very hard doing anything live in Damascus at that time. I guess the new band identity was a natural result of the “shifting” we encountered, willingly or against our will, ACEED speaks the music we have in our heads at the time being, and probably for long years to come.”
Another Syrian band turning heads is “Tanjaret Daghet” (meaning “Pressure Pot” in English), a trio who already earned a significant following in the Arab world, especially with their song “Ta7t El Daghet / Under Pressure”. They have played several gigs in Beirut, most notably at venues such as “Radio Beirut”, “Dictateur” and “DRM”.
Here’s what they had to say about the whole thing: “Tanjaret Daghet came together in 2008, in Damascus Syria. It started off as a project that expresses, through music, the nature of pressures [social, cultural, economic, psycho-social etc…surrounding every one of us as human beings. As the project developed, we felt it lacked the right atmosphere to grow. Towards the end of 2010, we moved away from Damascus towards Beirut, in search of the right energy and good vibes for our music to flow. We spent over a year, until the end of 2012, working on every aspect of the project until the right name for it came along “180 degrees”. We wouldn’t have realized all this, without the guidance and direction of certain people [they know who they arein the Lebanese Music Scene, who understand the nature of the pressures we are talking about, and realize the importance of letting them out in the form of art and creativity.”
Until the Syrian war ends, the Lebanese music scene is to expect a large contribution from original bands and artists. The variety and productivity they bring is motivating Lebanese bands to be more active!