Watch this spot for music news. Every other week, you’ll find out what rocks the glocal Leipzig music scene. Our first week starts with a little bang straight away. And how could you blame us when Lebanon’s answer to PJ Harvey is about to grace our humble Saxon soil with her presence?
Yasmine Hamdan is a woman that gave blood to many a vampire-enthusiast’s heart with her cameo appearance in Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive. She’s quite an impressive woman, that Yasmine. It’s the self-assured (and very gorgeous) appearance in Jarmusch’s ode to darkness that lets her take center stage just when she starts to sing. Listen to the somber tones of a deep and well-controlled baritone, radiating the desire of a brooding volcano to erupt. Match it with a very feminine appearance in black western clothes to evoke quite an intriguing and beguiling picture.
Having immigrated to France in the late 1990s, she started an independent band project that had the decomposition and cultural blend of Arabic music at heart. Her lyrics were sung in a variety of Arabic dialects – and refusing to sing in French when approached by record labels – she collaborated with music producer Zeid to mix classical Arabic song and electronic music to what was considered the first commercially successful Arabic Trip Hop band: Soapkills. After 3 albums, Yasmine Hamdan released her first of two solo albums, called “Arabology”. Her second album “Ya Nass” in the bag, she’s now been touring all corners of our world for over a year. On “Ya Nass”, every song takes you on a musical adventure through the great diversity of musical genres, ranging form singer/songwriter guitar tunes to mysterious trip hop beats and downright pop songs that are refreshingly different from what you’re usually exposed to on the radio, all wrapped in the somber magic of Arabian Nights.
It’s good to hear when artists like Yasmine Hamdan stay true to their roots as well. After the success that her appearance in Only Lovers Left Alive brought her, major record labels approached her again. This time the label executives were from the big players based in London and LA, intent on signing her if she was prepared to release her material in English. She refused, again, citing that she “felt a responsibility to inspire young people in the Arabic world with music they can identify with”. And we think that alone deserves a lot of kudos.