Posts Tagged: Mashrou’ Leila

Mashrou’ Leila Disrupts Narrative on Muslim Women

Mashrou’ Leila’s latest video, Roman, will offend many.

It features dozens of hijabi women who don’t appear to be oppressed. One of these mesmerising women dances her way through a dilapidated building without the faintest care in the world. There’s nothing exotic or erotic about her dancing: the choreography consists of an amalgam of moves that can only be described as beautifully erratic, and the woman is dressed in a flowy, figure-concealing ‘abaya.

Crucially, there’s no Western gaze on the women. They’re busy peering at themselves, and momentarily, at the (male) members of the Lebanese band. And while some of the women may appear passive, by the end of the video we learn that what they’re actually doing is mobilising (possibly against a deeply-entrenched patriarchy in the Arab world). The oppressive landscape, the band said in a Facebook post when it released the video on Tuesday, is actually a “fertile ground from which resistance can be weaponised.”

Mashrou’ Leila Brings Beirut to the Barbican


Take a look at the third world,” Mashrou’ Leila front-man Hamed Sinno said to a crowd of Londoners intoxicated on his talent. “Look at those Arabs, ISISing.”

Sinno was, of course, being his cheeky and brilliant self. (I fully intend to use the word ISISing in the future).

Pointing to a live projection from the streets of Mar Mikhael in Beirut and footage of young Lebanese being, well, young and Lebanese, the bearded, dreamy singer said his band was bringing the Levantine city to London.

That was, perhaps, the theme of the group’s inaugural Barbican gig: Sinno’s presence was so infectious, so intense, so darn sexy, that the posh London concert hall ascended into an Arab rave about fifteen minutes in.