The night Leila danced in London.

Having a Live Broadcast from Beirut in London showing Arabs dancing, singing, performing and hanging out - like all people are on a Saturday night was -maybe- a first.

It was at the Barbican centre in London where the indie Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila had their album release concert having Beirut as their background visuals.

“This is a live broadcast from Beirut, where these crazy third world-ians are being all IsIs-y.” Said Hamed Sinno the band’s vocalist in a sarcastic tone.

The broadcast had people dancing in a club, a street performance and groups of people just hanging out watching the concert on TV.

The fans old and new filled up the three stories hall, dancing to the tunes of the band that translated their moments of joy, desperation and hope.

It was a special event for the band as well as their fans not only because it is the launch of their fourth album, but it was also the first concert to be broadcast live on TV.

“The concert at Barbican Centre will be on live broadcast across the world on MTV Lebanon, which has all our stomachs in knots, but that fear is more than compensated by the excitement we feel to reach countries we haven’t had a chance to play in,” They announced on their Facebook page.

“We finally get to play in Palestine and Syria, even if it’s through a television screen.” Said Hamed Sinno during the concert.

The independent band was born in 2008, at the American University of Beirut as six students decided to jam together in order to lay off some steam.

In 2011, “ Tomorrow is a better day ”was one of their first singles to make the rounds on social media platforms. They dedicated it to the revolutions that were starting at the time.

Lead singer and lyricist Hamed Sinno, who is openly gay, does not shy away from writing songs that relate to his own life than of the clichéd “boy meets girl” that dominates the Arabic pop culture.

In “Shim el Yasmine,” he sings about a man that was dumped by another man whom he thought of as a “groom”, in a region where homosexuality is not only one of its biggest taboos, it is also illegal.

For almost seven years now, their songs have tackled LGBTQ rights, political freedoms, race and religion in a way that seemed concurrent with a modern Arab identity sprouting off the youth movements in the Middle East.

Their song “Wa Nueid” is a plea for a never-ending blossoming “spring” while “lel watan” holds a gritty social commentary on how the young people are shut down when they ask for better conditions.

In 2014, The Lebanese band made it to the cover of the infamous RollingStone magazine who described them as the sound of the underground.
The cover of RollingStone magazine April 2014

*The tracks of their latest album “ Ibn El-leil” are now available on youtube.

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