From Lebanon to Florence

Top Lebanese band rocks Flog

Katie Acompora
April 3, 2014

Passion. Emotion. Perseverance. Change. Mashrou’ Leila is a band of seven Lebanese musicians who took the stage at the Auditorium Flog on April 11 to raise awareness and funds for Syria as a part of worldwide Muslim Awareness Week. Mashrou’ is the Arabic word for “overnight project,” and is the origin of how Hamed Sino, Haig Papazian, Ibrahim Badr, Andre Chedid, Omaya Malaeb, Carl Gerges, and Firas Abu-Fakhr first formed a musical collaboration at the University of Beirut. The band never aspired to become famous, playing music purely for fun, but today Mashrou’ Leila represents something more—they are the voice of a silenced generation in the Middle East.


Mashrou’ Leila exemplify both the suffering and the overcoming of the political, personal and social circumstances of Beirut. They explain that the word Leila for them means “legend, poetry, or something beautiful.” Thus, the group has visions of self-empowerment and resilience that can triumph over the pressures that are placed upon the younger generation of Beirut—most specifically the challenges of marriage, sexuality and women’s rights. Fans can easily connect to these ubiquitous feelings of frustration, lack of freedom and need for societal change. Lead vocalist Hamed Sinno explained that the fan response has been altogether sincere and beautiful, and describes a time when a fan thanked the band for “inspiring him and his girlfriend to get married.” The band was able to make a third album due to crowd funding. They are currently working on a fourth album and aspire to find a record label to continue playing more music and to keep fundraising. Mashrou’ Leila awaken a strong message during Muslim Awareness Week within all of us: the power and universality of music that elicits a strong resonance in all people who are willing to listen.


‘Where words fail, music speaks,’ Hans Christian Andersen.

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