Lebanese singer-songwriter Yasmine Hamdan has finally made her way across the pond in a rare tour of the US supporting her newest record Al Jamilat (‘The Beautiful Ones’), which was released this past March on Ipecac Records/Crammed Discs.
Beirut-born and now Paris resident started her musical journey a decade ago fronting an electronic indie duo Soapkills earning her a giant spotlight in the underground Arab scene. Eventually breaking out on her own to pursue a solo venture as a singer song-writer, Yasmine has released two albums Ya Ness and her newest solo album Al Jamilat. On Al Jamilat, Yasmine hits hard with her sultry yet powerful vocal that is very much connected to traditions of Arabic music while still showing her western electronic and indie influences. On this album she employs some musical power players that had a hand in rounding out her westernized sound, Shahzad Ismaily (Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, John Zorn, Marc Ribot) and Sonic Youth‘s Steve Shelley.
For her politically-charged track about immigration, “Balad” which means “Country” in Arabic, Yasmine released the apt video to mirror the sentiment of the song. The video for “Balad” was directed by renowned Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman, shot in the streets of Beirut. Yasmine’s show at the El Rey will no doubt be a timely light in this politically charged period.
Treat yourself to something out of the norm of indie rock shows and hip hop and grab yourself a little culture tonight at the El Rey with Yasmine. Get your tickets here.
We caught up with Yasmine to chat about some of the finer things she enjoys from around the world. Check it out.
What city do you call home right now:
YH: Paris and Beirut.
Favorite restaurant and why:
Favorite bar around the world:
YH: Le Red House in Paris. Red House is where your bartender hangs out on his/her night off. An easygoing dive with really solid, inexpensive cocktails. Fun over fancy. I love the drink “old fashioned.”
OLD FASHIONED BY POINT
Favorite coffee shop and what is your favorite drink there:
YH: Cafe Beit Brooklyn. All of them.
What are some underrated buildings or landmarks you love in your city:
Favorite place to catch a show:
YH: Le Trianon is a very beautiful venue. The building has an old and restored architecture. The sound is great too. We just performed there it’s my favorite venue because it has a very special and unique vibe. Also, Théâtre de la Ville. They have a great line up. I have great memories of watching Pina Bausch’s amazing performances there.
Favorite boutique and where?
YH: I like souks and local markets everywhere I go. Morocco, Istanbul, Kyoto etc…
What’s the most inspiring outdoor space and why?
YH: The sea in Portugal.
If someone only had 24 hours in your city, what would you recommend they see and do?
YH: Paris is very beautiful to watch when you walk or even catch a boat on The Seine. The bridges over The Seine are stunning. For Beirut, I would recommend the food and the nightlife.
Do you draw inspiration from your city and if so, how does it inform your music?
YH: In Paris I’ve met many inspiring people and artists. I also love Paris for what it has to offer in terms of art, performances shows etc. I love the sea in Beirut, the sunset the sun and the heat.
5 tracks you are spinning on the the road right now?
Mohammed Abdel Wahab – “Ana Oual Azab”
Sheikh Imam – “Dour Ya Kalam”
Asmahan – “Ya habibi ta3ala”
Ali ya 3ali – “Sabah”
Souad Abdallah – “Choubi”
What’s in your rider?
YH: Gluten free, lactose free and with no refined sugar.
5 must haves on the road:
YH: Yoga in the morning, an exciting book, my laptop with my favorite music + the booze when I want to hear it amplified, healthy snacks.
City you’re most looking forward to playing on this US tour?
YH: It’s actually fun to play in all cities but I am looking forward to San Francisco because I’ll be joined on stage by my very good and talented friend Sierra from the CocoRosie, looking also forward to playing in LA and NY.