At Home with Munma

This is not about a show or a performance per se. This is more of an “encounter”.

– Backstory: Our story begins earlier this year, with me at the time scheduled to perform for my school talent show a crappy little electronic skit I composed on my synthesizer, my instrument of choice (just so you know). Very techno, very embarrassing looking back on that now, but I did give it my own twist. Anyway, my uncle, who works at the Future newspaper, was driving me to rehearsal, and he divulged an interesting piece of information. He said that he knew a guy who made electronic music in his own house and that he has released some CDs. I was mildly interested.

So some time passed by and he told me that this individual’s name was Jawad, Jawad Nawfal, A.K.A “Munma”. I grew curious, so I searched for any information I could find on him on the net. When one of the results led to the Incognito website I knew this guy was the real deal. More time passed, I performed (and rocked the house), and the day after I got the chance to listen to some of the CDs. They took me by surprise. They were very unstructured and unpredictable, definitely not the electronic music I knew. So I had been offered the chance to go and meet him in person at his home, so I accepted.

Many many months passed and I was busy with school and and other things. Then one day the ball started rolling. My uncle said he told Jawad’s father (Michel Nawfal) that he wanted to take me to his son’s house to meet him, so he said he’d give him his number. Unfortunately, Jawad was having surgery done on his ear, so we had to wait a while. Then after some waiting, the time had come, all was prepared, and we went over to his house.

-The Unfolding: So we found his home with some initial difficulties, and we went up to his flat. He greeted me and my uncle, and welcomed us inside. We sat down in his “workplace”, a fantastic room of synthesizers, vinyl records, and other random objects of awesome.

For the next two hours we discussed many things inclusing his style of music, his approach to it, his inspiration in making it, the Lebanese music scene in general, how people want something more dance-able around here, how one of the Lebanese bands’ problems is that too many of them are cover bands, how to succeed as a graphic designer (my future profession hopefully, along with some other things on the side), and other random stuff…

We talked synths as well. For the first time in my life I had a conversation with a Lebanese person on the KORG Kaossilator where that person wasn’t clueless and confused, in fact he gave his own experiences with the Kaossilator (which is my synth in case you’re wondering). Also, he gave me some of the best advice ever. A synth is not enough. He advised me on getting an effects processor to use with it. I had thought about this before but never really felt it that big a deal to get one, but him, an expert in the field, getting behind that idea, that’s when I thought “this is what must be done”. Today, I have a much more versatile sound thanks to the Mini KP, my effects processor.

-Wrapping Up: We ended our stay with Jawad signing some CDs and taking a photo (it took many tries and still we didn’t get it right). In the end, I was very pleased since it’s not everyday that you go into a musicians personal workspace and ask him about his music, synthesizers, the Lebanese alternative scene, etc… This wouldn’t seem like such a big deal to other people, but it means a lot to me personally, hearing/seeing one of these musicians on the internet or on CD, admiring their work, and then meeting them and getting the chance to show my gratitude in person. Just imagine, where would Lebanon be without them? Keep it up all you musicians, artists, writers, thinkers, all of you…

The photo:


I am not at all photogenic.


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