Kahlil Gibran ( 1883-1931) was a Lebenese poet, philosopher, artist & rebel. This is an excerpt from his book of poetry, The Prophet.

Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful.

And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy you may find in them a harness and a chain.

Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your raiment,

For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.

Some of you say, ” It is the north wind who has woven the clothes we wear.”

And I say, Ay, it was the north wind, But shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread.

And when his work was done he laughed in the forest.

Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean.

And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and fouling of the mind?

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.


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Mashrou’ Leila (An Overnight Project)

Mashrouʼ Leila is a Lebanese band that rebels against it’s own country’s political situation. The underground project started when Haig Papazian (guitar)and Andre Chedid (piano) posted an open invitation to anyone that wanted to vent some of the stress related to the unfortunate events of 2008 (massive political upheaval and violence), through music. Initially the project was experimental but then seven of the original attendees  joined Papazian & Chedid to form what is now called, “Mashrou’ Leila”. Their music has evolved into tunes with hints of Arabic Tarab*, rock, folk,  pop and electro, reflecting the many faces of contemporary Lebanese culture. They also fearlessly address taboo issues of Middle Eastern life like love, war, security, political assassination, materialism and homosexuality.

During the months leading up to the Arab Spring, Mashrou Leila headlined at the Byblos International Music festival alongside the Gorillaz and Caetano Veloso. This was the first time a Lebanese band was given a headlining post in the festival. Mashorou’ leila were also meant to open for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in Beirut but unfortunately stepped down after the pressure of political activists and boycott campaigns.

Here are two videos:

Fasateen  (Dresses) is a story about the pressures of relationships evolving into marriages. Sinno,  said :  “When we write our songs it’s always a byproduct of everything we’re living. When you’re in Lebanon and you’re our age, everyone starts getting married and your family is always trying to hook you up with people, I guess marriage is one of those monolithic institutions we’re constantly confronted with.”

Shim el Yasmeen ( Smell the Jasmin) is a story addressing tolerance and acceptance for homosexual love. The song is about a young man who wants to introduce his bride to his parents but, surprise… the bride turns out to be a groom!

*Arab tarab : Authentic sound of arab music originating thousands of years ago .

-Maie Zoheir

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