Mashrou’ Leila formed against the backdrop of a Lebanese music scene that was failing to reflect the lived realities of young Lebanese or that of many young Arabs throughout the region. The band sought to create something distinctly Arab in both the sound and substance of their lyrics but that was completely different both musically and lyrically from the standard Arab pop formula or classical Arabic music. They wanted music that resonated with them and the only way to get it was to make it themselves.
The discussion (followed by performance) will explore the intersection of music and identity politics; the perils of examining art, music or politics through an East vs. West lens; the question of whether it is possible or desirable to be both an artist/musician and apolitical and the band’s feelings about providing inspirational fuel and a sense of belonging for many Arab youth through their exuberant melodies.
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