5 Arab Musicians you should be watching

1

Born out of a university workshop, this 7 piece group of Lebanese musicians have released three singles since their formation in 2008.  Mashrou Leila (Leila’s/Night project) mixes Western music principles with Arabic sounds, infusing “controversial” lyrics, relevant to today’s generation. Whilst Arab culture is typified as ‘traditional’ and ‘modest’, Mashrou’s lyics still shock despite century old poets writing similarly about sexuality and interfaith relationships. They also deal with gender roles and war whilst keeping their beats uplifting.

5

Syrian artist and activist, Omar Offendum raps in Arabic and English, taking influences from Arab poets and political events in the Middle East. Previous to his first solo album, SyrianAmericana, Offendum collaborated with artists such as The Narcicyst and Mr Tibbz.

4

Yassin Alsalman, the Iraqi hip hop artist and journalist has released three solo albums since 2000 in addition to his numerous collaborations with other artists.  Also taking influences from, but not solely, events in the Middle East,The Narcicyst has released his music accompanied by a stream of beautifully shot and experimental videos.

3

Previously a member of Soapkills, Yasmine Hamdan from Lebanon, was encouraged by music executives to take up contracts awarding mainstream success on the condition that she would sing exclusively in English. She refused these offers and has become a success nonetheless.

2

This British born Palestinian artist sings and raps in Arabic and English. She became noticed as a powerful singer whilst performing classical Arabic songs at a string of rallies. As an artist and individual, Shadia Mansour is very outspoken on her political views.

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