5 Inspiring Artists from Lebanon

Renowned for being one of the most artistic countries in the Middle East, Lebanon continues to produce rising modern artists through the last decade. Keep reading to discover a curated pick of talented artists from Lebanon.

Image Credit: Flavien Prioreau (courtesy Crammed Discs).

Paris-based Lebanese singer and composer Yasmine Hamdan is known for her unique style in the Arab scene as it breaks all the codes. She likes to create modern, dreamy, and melancholic songs arranged with elements from contemporary Western electronic, pop, and folk music. Yasmine debuted her career by founding and being part of Soapkills (1997 – 2005), one of the first electro groups in the Middle East. She then launched her solo career and dropped her Debut Album Ya Nass in 2013, which brought the attention of her native region as well as North Africa, Europe, and America.

Hamdan is now a globally recognized artist who has performed prestigious shows on four continents (including a series of performances for the launch of the Jim Jarmusch movie Only Lovers Left Alive, in which she’s featured singing in one of the film’s most memorable scenes). Her latest drop to date is the 2018 album Jamilat Reprise, combining reconstructions and remixes.

Yasmine Hamdan – Hal (official music video) #JimJarmusch Edit

Image Credit: The New York Times

Nadine Lebaki is a Lebanese filmmaker whose work reflects her activism and constantly breaking down stereotypes. She began her career with the film11 rue Pasteur in 1997, which won the Prize for the Best Short Film at the Arab Cinema Biennial at the Institut du monde Arabe in Paris. Her worldwide recognition took off when she released her first feature film, Caramel (Sukar Banat), in 2007, which allowed her to work with music composer Khaled Mouzanar, whom she later married.

Lebaki’s latest film to date is Capharnaüm, a story that retraces the journey of a Zaïn, a child who lives on expedients in a miserable district of Beirut with his family. This movie was rewarded 3 times at the Cannes Festival of 2018 and represented Lebanon during the Academy Awards of that year.

Capharnaüm, Nadine Lebaki. Official Trailer

Bachar Mar-Khalifé is a French-Lebanese singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. He learned music at the Paris Conservatory with his brother Rami Khalifé and won the Conservatory prize in piano. Bachar is also interested in percussion and discovers the traditional repertoire of his country of origin through his father, the famous Oud Singer, Marcel Khalifé.

He dropped his debut solo album titled Oil Stick in 2010, which touches on the social, political, and passionate vision that Bachar has of the world today. But the album that brought him wider visibility was his third one, Ya Balad (2015), more specifically the title track Lemon, a catchy song with its dancing rhythm, that fuses tradition with modern touches. Khalifé will be releasing his new album, On/Off, in October 2020, which was recorded in the mountains of Lebanon in December 2019. The first single Zakrini is already out. Click here to join the singer’s newsletter and stay updated about his activities.

Bachar Mar-Khalifé for Musica Sawa – Zakrini 

Image Credit : @haigpapa

Haig Papazian is an Armenian-Lebanese multi-instrumentalist and Architect. He started playing the violin at an early age during his studies at an Armenian music school.

In 2008, he co-founded Mashrou’ Leila, the music band he is still part of, during his time as a student in architecture at the American University of Beirut. He received the Fawzi Architectural Award in 2008 and his fellow band members are all still developing their careers as architects, designers, and engineers. The talented artist even has video directing skills, as he edited and directed the music video El Hal Romancy, in 2011. In 2014, Papazian was featured in My.Kali magazine and later the Middle-Eastern edition of Rolling Stone Magazine as part of his music band.

Mashrou’ Leila – El Hal Romancy ( Official Music Video ) – Directed and Edited by Haig Papazian

Image Credit: @inkyways

Lourdy Ghorayeb is a Dubai-based Lebanese artist and designer. She developed her unique style by using a very specific technique, drawing her artwork by putting the pen on paper, and not taking it off until the piece is complete. Her art represents the way she sees the world in a single line through her platform Inky Ways. Ghorayeb received her BFA degree in Interior Design at the American University of Dubai. She is now part of the art consultancy and works in fashion, design, branding, and art.

On her art, she said, “One line art is some kind of therapy to me. It brings me focus; I love the idea of putting the pen on paper and letting my hand do whatever it likes freely, it’s like drawing the shapes of my thoughts and feelings. I really believe that there is a connection between our body, people, places, and vibes that surround us. We surround ourselves with things we love. Things that touch and inspire us by their beauty or that capture memory of people and moments we treasure. Therefore, I wake up every day with a mission to capture and deconstruct people and moments through one continuous line.”

Image Credit: @inkyways

Featured Image: Nadine Lebaki – وهلّأ لوين؟ 

By Meriem Toumi

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