The world’s biggest Arabic language band sing in English for the first time and release powerful new video.Mashrou’ Leila have been described as ‘The voice of their generation’ and ’the most successful Arabic-language band internationally’ by CNN and The Guardian respectively. 2019 sees the trailblazing Lebanese band Mashrou celebrate ten years, with a world tour and a compilation The Beirut School, a mix of old favourites and exclusive new songs.
New single ‘Cavalry’ marks the first time that Mashrou Leila have sung in English. They have never sounded as buoyant as on this dance-pop cut produced with Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard; a move that will surely help the band to reach an ever larger audience in the west.The accompanying video is the band’s second collaboration with director Jessy Moussallem, following her award-winning film for Roman. The video revolves around the devastating cruelty and machismo of militarised oppression, which enters our homes, and plays out in our domestic life.
Calling to mind Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager arrested outside her home for confronting Israeli soldiers, and thrown into the public gaze as an activist, the children in the film reflect Mashrou’ Leila’s own struggles with political power, having recently been banned from being with their audiences in Jordan and Egypt, and finding themselves at the centre of yet another human rights debacle.The film reminds us perhaps of the energised idealism we had as youths coming into the world, and believing we could change it, before political fatigue left us jaded and defeated.
Mashrou' Leila are a four piece indie band based in Beirut. While the band has kept no secrets over the last two years about their plans to write in English in an effort to reach wider audiences in the west, their decision to address Israeli military brutality weeks after Eurovision is a very clear statement from the band: they can be just as defiant in any language.
Their rousing, sensual electro- pop anthems about political freedoms, LGBT rights, race, religion and modern Arabic identity have challenged the status quo of the Middle-Eastern pop industry. The loose collective of students who began jamming together in 2008 at the American University of Beirut has gradually focused into an ambitious, fiercely articulate quartet: vocalist/lyricist Hamed Sinno, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Firas Abou Fakher, violinist Haig Papazian, and drummer Carl Gerges. And the music they make has focused, too, into a charged, atmospheric version of pop that is geographically impossible to place. The lyrics draw on their collective experiences, which the band shares with many in the Middle East, and addresses the need for self-expression and a judgment free culture - a notion often stifled in a conservative society.