Yasmine Hamdan - Al Jamilat (Cramned Discs, 2017)
In Al Jamilat (‘The Beautiful Ones’), she pursues her musical exploration, while taking a look at the mutations at work within the Arab world.
While Yasmine’s vocals are definitely connected to traditions of Arabic music (to which she takes an unconventional and fresh approach), the structures and arrangements of the songs are very remote from its codes, and take in elements from contemporary Western electronic, pop and folk music.
Her unique vision is fully realised in this new album, which she jointly produced with UK producers Luke Smith (Foals, Depeche Mode, Lily Allen) and Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno, Carl Barât), and recorded with contributions from NY musicians Shahzad Ismaily (Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, John Zorn, Marc Ribot) and Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley.
Yasmine is a wanderer, she’s lived in half a dozen countries and has been immersed in as many cultures. The making of this album couldn’t therefore be anything else but a voyage, during which she collected and merged sounds & ideas, interacting along the way with a variety of people, nurturing her reflections and enriching the sociopolitical awareness which always runs through her lyrics.
The release of the Ya Nass album has been getting tremendous attention in Europe and America, as well as in North Africa and the Middle East (where Yasmine Hamdan has enjoyed iconic stature since the days of Soapkills, the duet she had founded in her native Beirut, which was one of the first indie/electronic bands in the Middle East).
She’s performed prestigious shows on four continents (including a series of concerts for the launch of the Jim Jarmusch movie “Only Lovers Left Alive”, in which she’s featured singing, onscreen, in one of the film’s most memorable scenes).
Photo: Nadim Asfar