The Blog

Establishing a music scene is a deja-vu ...

Posted on March 11, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Lebanon is not a country that can absorb the emergence of a thorough non-oriental music scene. We tried it before and we failed. It is all about edutainment dear music lovers!

Beirut, Monday 11 March 2013

The Lebanese society is reputed for its capacity to absorb too many civilizations and cultures into its system, ferment them, and integrate some of their newly distilled traits in diverse aspects of its daily life. This unique characteristic can be noticed in fashion, food, personal relationships, business sectors, slangs, and music. The Lebanese society is infamous as well for being illoyal and moody when it comes to consumer's behavior. As example, diners, such as Henry J. Beans and Hard Rock Cafe, were hit destinations in the early 1990s, let it loose for Latin cuisines afterwards, whereas sushi bars constitute the trend of nowadays.

Beside favouring diners, the 1990s witnessed the rise of a rock/heavy metal scene in Lebanon and the formation of talented bands that could had hit international stardom if they were provided with wise management teams and necessary funding. Those, who were allowed to sit on a bar during that era, still recall epic performances by Exceed, Alex, Chady Nashef, Kordz, and Ghassan Rahbani (to name but few). In the late 1990s, the scene expanded to include a wide range of rock genres such as progressive rock/metal, funk, thrash, gothic, doom, and black metal. Such growth was not left orphaned with the support expressed by some influnetial persons in the local market such as Mr. Jihad El-Murr, who safeguarded a weekly "dark wave" show broadcasted every Wednesday on RML radio station (to become NRJ after).

Jazz and Blues bands joined into the stream and the music scene in Lebanon seemed to have it all in order to prosper and get rooted into the society, or at least among the young generation. Music clubs mushroomed, concerts and live performances in bars turned a weekly ritual, and a specialized press (both hardcopy and electronic versions) was established. Faces became more familiar and recognizable giving the impression that a family has grown all by its own without intentional efforts.

Despite all the positive above listed elements, no rock/metal music scene had truly seen the light in Lebanon. By 2005, another genre invaded the arena and caught the ears and souls of those same listeners that, two months ago, were the defenders of the five-string's musicophilia. The newcoming genre came in a different dress code and imposed another lifestyle. The basic four-member band was replaced by one man/woman, called a "DJ", surrounded by metal boxes and electric wires from which he/she is supposed to produce rhythm.

Almost eight years after, people are talking again about the foundation of a trance music scene in Lebanon. The "A State of Trance - ASoT" event, which took place at Forum De Beyrouth on Saturday 09, 2013, gave some defenders of "rhythmic vibes" hopes that a scene could exist in our country. Call it anticipation or prediction, the realm of trance will fail, sooner or later, for another dominant genre. Hopefully, we do not replace the DJ by a robot this time and we totally forget that music is feelings that no multi-million-effect machine can produce or at least communicate to the audience.

Astonishing similarities

During the rock/metal dream years, the older generation and the government complained about the side-effects of such type of music. They claimed that listeners of such tunes are always stoned, they worship satan, and are encouraged to do immoral practices. The trance era did not calm the complainers, who are referring to the same complaints, once again, in order to defend their stance.

It is true that not all music listeners are clean. However, this fact has nothing to do with the music itself but rather the personality of the underlined person. George Wassouf, the famous and well-respected oriental singer, led a notorious life, although he never played acoustic guitar or put headphones behind the decks. 

For me, the scary thing presides in the fact that many, who shouted yesterday's "long live rock n' roll", are screaming today's "the DJ saved my life - or night, whatever". Disturbing as it sounds, no music scene can be built in Lebanon unless you teach the audience loyalty and consumer's rights. During my teenage years, we used to get into music events in order to move on the vibes of music, to set our bodies free and let the rhythm takes us to wherever it may lead. It was not an easy task on the player, be it a DJ or a band. For such, we used to have good musicians. Nowadays, none of us allow the music rays in. We move to attract spotlight, we scream to pretend, and we rush to stand on top of a table or chair to feed our ego and claim we are on top. 

Please, keep that in mind: no one can be on top of a music rhythm unless the sound you hear got nothing to do with music!

Categories: Musicophilia

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