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Lebanese Rock Band Mashrou’ Leila plays exclusive tribute for AUB
12/29/2016
Dana Abed  |  Office of Advancement  |  media@aub.edu.lb  | 
Lebanese Rock Band Mashrou’ Leila plays exclusive tribute for AUB
In a tribute to their alma mater on its 150th anniversary, the members of Mashrou' Leila have recorded live versions of three songs in AUB's iconic Assembly Hall. The first two, “Aoede" and “Kalaam" can be seen on the group's YouTube channel.

Mashrou' Leila is a Lebanese alternative rock band formed in 2008 at the American University of Beirut (AUB). The five-member band has released three albums, Mashrou' Leila (2009), Raasük (2013), and Ibn El Leil (2015) as well as an EP, El Hal Romancy (2011). They are known for their distinctive musical style and their satirical lyrics and themes.

All AUB alumni, the band members are Hamed Sinno (BFA 2011), Ibrahim Badr (BE 2009), Carl Gerges (BArch 2011), Haig Papazian (BArch 2009), and Firas Abou Fakher (BArch 2011). They were approached by Toni Öyry, director of the documentary film “On the Edge of Time," and the AUB 150th committee, to take part in this movie commemorating AUB's history. The band is indeed a part of AUB's history, since it is a success story that started on this very campus.

“A few students posted a small paper in the Department of Architecture and Design calling together performers for a music session at night after our studio work is done, and in that first session, 14 or so students showed up, and a few weeks later we had become the seven founding members of the band at the time," explains band member Firas Abou Fakher (BArch 2011). “We held jam sessions once a week during the nights at the Music Club room. A few weeks later, we were asked to perform for the opening of the Architecture and Design exhibition, and we had to have a name, and Mashrou' Leila was the name."

The three live songs are new versions of previously released songs off their latest album “Ibn el Leil," with the videos directed by Toni Öyry and SISU Beirut. The setting of Assembly Hall is especially meaningful to the members of the band.

“A few years ago, while we were still students, we had performed a special concert at Assembly Hall. We rearranged our repertoire at the time and included a sextet of string instruments to better fit the history and the sonic character of the Assembly Hall. This time, we were quick to challenge ourselves even further. We asked to use the pipe organ, one of the few in Lebanon, and recruited singers from the AUB and Zaki Nassif choirs, with special vocal arrangements by us and a great friend and composer Paul Tyan, all to give the songs a performance that would happen once and at AUB," said Abou Fakher.

Passages of the songs figure in the documentary in addition to testimonials from members of the band. “I'm speaking personally here but I think that AUB has played layers upon layers of roles in my life, some that I still probably have not discovered," added Abou Fakher.

Mashrou' Leila have performed in Lebanon to capacity crowds at the Byblos International Festival, the Beirut Hippodrome, and as headliners at the prestigious Baalbeck International Festival.  Over the past year, they have gained momentum and further international recognition with a world tour including stops in Canada, Tunisia, Turkey, Italy, Germany, France, and Norway, in addition to Lebanon.
Story Highlights
  • ​In a tribute to their alma mater on its 150th anniversary, the members of Mashrou' Leila have recorded live versions of three songs in AUB's iconic Assembly Hall.
 
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