Sunday July 21st, 2024
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Sharake - The Syrian Duo Fusing Techno With Classical Arabic

Syrian duo Sharake seamlessly blends oriental heritage within cutting edge techno beats, delivering a cross-cultural musical odyssey.

Omar Ghonem

Sharake - The Syrian Duo Fusing Techno With Classical Arabic

Originating from Syria, Yazan Al Sabbagh and Saleh Katbeh are the driving forces behind Sharake, a techno duo that aspires to transcend cultural boundaries through their vibrant fusion of techno beats and oriental music, integrating traditional instruments like the oud and the clarinet into cutting-edge tracks.

Immersed in the classical music traditions of the Damascus conservatory and now based in Berlin, the global capital of techno, the dynamic duo seamlessly intertwines their diverse influences. Their soulful compositions, enhanced by multilingual vocals, not only captivate but also bring a unique layer of cultural richness to each track.

In this exclusive SceneNoise interview, we spoke with Yazan to talk about his musical experiences and influences, and the aspirations driving Sharake’s unique sounds.

What influenced the music of Sharake? 

Sharake's music is influenced by various genres we heard and grew up with in Syria, along with the music of Berlin, our current place of residence. We aimed to bridge traditional Arab and Syrian folk music with global techno, blending elements from both worlds to create a unique sound.

What was it like growing up and making music in Syria?

Growing up in Syria, our music was influenced by the diverse musical scene, and studying classical music at the conservatory in Damascus added depth to our experience. We blended classical principles with folk inspiration, shaping our unique musical journey.

How did the idea for Sharake come to life?  

Berlin was the starting point for Sharake. There, we discovered electronic music and decided to leverage the tools and power of electronic music to create Arab content by blending Eastern and electronic music genres.

How's the work dynamic between You and Saleh? and can you tell us about the creative process behind the music? 

Between me and Saleh, our work method is simple, based on experimentation and learning from our own experiences or the experiences of other artists whose music we admire. We never stop learning and experimenting every day because continuity is the key to our collaboration. Embracing even the strangest ideas helps us evolve and better understand each other.

You collaborated with AXL and DJ Phellix - how important is it to you to collaborate with artists of other mediums? And how does it serve your vision?

Collaborating with AXL and DJ Phellix was extremely enjoyable. Through these experiences, we learned new ideas and work methods that influenced us. Collaboration is a central goal of our project, reflected in the band's name, sharake, meaning collaboration. We aim to continue creating joint content with various artists, and upcoming collaborations include a new project with Obeidmusic and other artists.

What do you hope to achieve musically and culturally with Sharake?

Our primary goal is for people to enjoy the content we create, while also exploring various musical styles within electronic music. Our vision for Sharake performance is a musical journey incorporating diverse genres like Deep House, Oriental Melodic House, and even elements of traditional dance like Dabke. However, we aim to craft our unique musical atmosphere and develop a special musical identity.

What do you think of similar cosss-culture Arabic musical experiences such as Hello Psychaleppo and Soapkills? And what distinguishes Sharake's music from those experiences? 

As we said we learn from other artists and for sure we got inspired by artists working in the same domain. They built their own musical identity and we would do the same.

Are there any projects or performances we should look out for in the coming future? 

After touring Germany, we're back in the studio working on new tracks and aiming for a 2024 release. We're excited about collaborating with Obeidmusic and other artists, with more details coming soon. Plus, get ready for our upcoming shows and concerts, starting in Hamburg at the Thalia Theater in February!