Originally, the International Day of Peace event, organized by the Permanent Peace Movement, was to be held on the 21st of September, but due to some unpredictable rain, it was rescheduled to the 27th.
This would be an event for the whole family (including children) that would include a concert come nighttime. Several relatively unknown groups, as well as one theater group, were to perform, but one group was more than known to me, and that was Fareeq el Atrash. One of the lesser known groups that I was eager to check out were an enigmatic twin-sister Arabic-acoustic duo by the name of ShaBa, who made their debut during the 2009 Fete de la Musique. I had found their myspace through a message sent by Mashrou3 Leila, who are friends of theirs, to members of their group. I’ll do a full analysis in the future, but for now what I will say about them is that from their myspace I concluded that Shaden Fakih, the vocalist of the duo, sings of edgy social issues in Arabic to simple acoustic guitar tunes played by Bane Fakih, the guitarist of the duo. Both girls are about my age (17), so the fact that they are part of the younger generation of groups, the class of groups that I would fall into if I were to play in a band, was appealing, like: “Hey look, people my age DO have something to offer the scene!”.
-Before the Show: This particular show took place in Jesuit Garden (L’Jnayne’ L’Yasou3iyye) in Ashrafieh. It was hard to find. They could have tried securing a more well known location. For a while, even Fareeq el Atrash themselves were confused location-wise…
I arrived to find a stage set up, with chairs and stuff, and filling up most of those chairs were kids (well some were standing on them, others chasing each other around them, but you get the idea). This was where the weirdness began. I didn’t imagine this kind of crowd honestly. It was basically kids, their parents/ grandparents, and a couple random people. Not really the “undergrounders” I had gotten used to being around for these kinds of events.
-The Show: After a lot of waiting and a lack of artists showing up on schedule, one of the event organizers, Shant Kabakian, asked the only band that was there at the moment, an obscure band called Body Jam to, well, jam, to stall. So they did, and it wasn’t too bad. After them, some guy who competed in the show “Superstar” sang. He sang for a while, average Arabic tarab stuff. Following that, an improptu DJ set for the purpose of stalling. The bass was WAY too powerful, painfully powerful, and I’m talking physically now. Children danced, old people danced, they had nothing better to do. Children were jumping onto the stage and an old dude was assigned to shoo them away.
Just then, I spotted Edd of Fareeq el Atrash. The others shortly followed. We chatted for a while. Eventually, I located Shaden Fakih, and introduced myself for the first time, but unfortunately did not get the chance to meet her sibling that night.
I hung out with the Fareeq el Atrash dudes while the theater group Firqat el Dafade3 presented a political satirical performance in the style of “Basmet Il Watan”. I wasn’t too impressed with it, but it passed.
Following that were ShaBa, who were performing with the slogan “Make Love Not War”. Now ShaBa’s fans, they were mostly close friends of theirs. I think I was among the few people who wanted to genuinely see them, and not just do so as a polite gesture. But regardless, their fans were very excited. They clapped along vigorously and even sang along to the songs. This was rare. Usually people, including myself, are all “silent-appreciation” accompanied by foot-tapping/ head-nodding/ rhythmic shuffling from side to side. But their fans threw these unwritten rules of concert-going out the window and just went wild, which was kinda weird to me, but still cool.
Kids were jumping onto the sides of the stage, and the aforementioned old dude was doing his job of keeping them off, both him and them disrupting the experience actually.
They performed all four of their songs. During one song the mic got all feedbacky so they lightheartedly started over again. The kids thought they were SOOO witty and edgy when they started repeating “khazze2ni ya deek” hinting at a “hidden” innuendo. It’s good that they didn’t get all defeated by that and just brushed it off. Now usually, well, the one other time they performed and this one, the band consists of the two sisters, Shaden on vocals and Bane on acoustic guitar, but this was the first time that they are joined by two friends of theirs, Aya Attar on keyboard and Rola Najjar on electric guitar. The duo is known as Nattar. Together they played a new song and this lineup showed me that they are still a band in progress, still in that stage of experimenting with different instruments to fill in gaps. Due to their lack of bass, I forgot about the whole “painful bass” issue that I was suffering from earlier that night. For some reason, someone thought it was a good idea to hand out candles to the kids, and the girls were briefly pelted with candles by the unappreciative little rascals, nothing catastrophic, just an inconvenience for them. They also succeed in brushing that off, so bravo! At the end they were presented an award by some lady, so that was nice.
Following them were Fareeq el Atrash who performed the usual set of songs. They were very good, but when you see a band live that many times, you start getting bored of hearing the same songs. But, it’s important to keep in mind that even though you’ve already seen these songs played live, there are others that haven’t yet, so you just have to tolerate that. That went by quick, and the painful bass issue came back to haunt me, and left me with ringing ears. Dude who rigged up the sound system, I am a proverbial “atrash” and have no desire to become an actual one…
After they were done, they too were presented with an award.
-After the Show: Following them were rappers ZeineDin and Venus followed by Body Jam, but I had to leave. This show was kind of ruined by the crowd and the bad sound setup.
ShaBa & Nattar – “Shiftak Laziz”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1RhMlsZ77I
I have a video of “Alla Bi 7ebba” that I will upload when I can.