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Now based in Paris as a solo artist, the Beirut native was the co-founder of the hugely influential and groundbreaking elecronic duo Soapklls that helped spark a whole underground scene in her home city. (Ebru Yildiz for NPR)

Yasmine Hamdan: globalFEST 2014

Jan 16, 2014

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Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan brought her cool, underground electro-pop to globalFEST at Webster Hall in New York City on January 12, 2014. Hamdan sings originals and reworked traditional music from across the Middle East in the familiar rock setup of vocals, keyboard, drums and guitars. Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan brought her cool, underground electro-pop to globalFEST at Webster Hall in New York City on Jan. 12, 2014. Hamdan sings originals and reworked traditional music from across the Middle East in the familiar rock setup of vocals, keyboard, drums and guitars. Now based in Paris as a solo artist, the Beirut native was the co-founder of the hugely influential and groundbreaking electronic duo Soapklls, which helped spark an underground scene in her home city. Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan brought her cool, underground electro-pop to globalFEST at Webster Hall in New York City on Jan. 12, 2014.

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Lebanese singer-songwriter Yasmine Hamdan is an eminently cool addition to the indie-pop landscape. She was the co-founder of the groundbreaking duo Soapkills, which might have been the very first electronic band in postwar Beirut. Now a solo artist and based in Europe after a childhood split between Lebanon, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Greece, Hamdan blends new material with reworked traditional songs in a smoky-cool electro-pop setting.

Her choice to sing exclusively in Arabic isn't a parochial one: Instead, it's a statement that's both intensely personal and in some ways political, a way of declaring who she is and where she comes from. (She says she's turned down many international recording offers that stipulated she perform in English.) In her sets, she indulges in some regional code-switching, moving deftly between Arabic dialects. But whether or not you hear those differences in her singing, you'll instantly understand why she's attracted the attention of tastemakers from French Vogue magazine to filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, who enlisted her to appear as herself in his upcoming film Only Lovers Left Alive.

Set List

  • "Deny"
  • "IRSS"
  • "Galbi"
  • "Medxa"
  • "Suleina"
  • "Beirut"
  • "Ya Nass"
  • "Azza"

Credits

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Anastasia Tsioulcas; Videographers: Olivia Merrion, A.J. Wilhelm; Editor: Gabriella Garcia-Pardo; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Event Coordinator: Saidah Blount; Special Thanks: globalFEST, Webster Hall; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann.

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