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Beirut Music Fest Hosts 11 Bands With Global Flavor

Dec 05

Beirut Music Fest Hosts 11 Bands With Global Flavor

Beirut & Beyond International Music Festival returns to the city’s stage this month with 11 bands, all up-and-coming local and international talent, staging four days of shows.

The festival’s sixth edition, running Dec. 6-9, will host performances and artist talks at Station Beirut, AR_KA, Metro al-Madina, Zoukak Studio, The Ballroom Blitz, Dar El-Nimer for Arts and Culture, Hammana Artist House and Onomatopeia the Music Hub.

“BBIMF is rooting itself locally for this edition,” BBIMF director Amani Semaan told The Daily Star.

“It’s great to have partners that share our vision in supporting the independent music scene and we invite the audience to see the city through an exceptional musical journey where independent musicians can express their music, their aspirations and achievements.”

BBIMF aims to give a platform for fresh local and regional musicians to perform, meet international professionals and to take part in workshops and lectures.

“What is special about BBIMF is that it’s not limited to only one genre. On the bill this year we have jazz, electronic, world music, psychedelic rock, experimental, and more,” Semaan said. “Innovation is always part of the program, either by presenting newly formed bands or newly released projects.”

This year’s program opens with Lebanon’s Tania Saleh, who will be presenting her new album “Intersection.” Other acts include French trumpeters Erik Truffaz and Sig, Egyptian electro band Baskot Lel Baltageyya, Norwegian jazz trio GURLS and Lebanese electro-acoustic duo Two or the Dragon.

Tunisian experimental artist Imed Alibi is on hand with his new project “Frigya” (Africa), a culmination of several years of research, combining Alibi’s Berber and Arabic rhythms.

“It merges the openness of Imed, who has collaborated with a lot of renowned musicians worldwide,” Semaan said, “the maturity and refinement of Michel Marre on trumpet, the energetic and edginess of Khalil Hentati on synths and guitar and finally the enchantment of Kandy Guira’s voice. The whole is an extraordinary set.”

Lebanese rockers Kinematik will be performing again this year at BBIMF, having been part of the 2017 tour, and will be showcasing their soon-to-be released album. “The engagement, the creativity, the consistency, the energy, the talent and the sound,” Semaan said. “All those elements are what makes Kinematik’s concert not to be missed.”

The professional program includes Meet the Artist, an Artist Entrepreneur session and several workshops. “Meet the Artist is a session we started in 2016. The idea is to give the opportunity to selected artists from Lebanon and the region to have short meetings with visiting professionals and present their projects,” Semaan explained. “We always try, through the selection, to show the diversity of the music production in the region, and the different levels, formats and genres.

Sacem, a royalties-distributing organization, will hold a roundtable discussion about its work and how musicians can protect their rights in Arab societies.

AR_KA will host local promoters discussion of their work, the challenges they face, and the objectives they have.

In previous years, BBIMF has ended its run by launching a world tour for select Lebanese bands.

Due to funding issues, this year’s tour has been canceled, but Semaan said plans are already in the works for next year’s edition, with the help of European partners.