Wednesday June 19th, 2024
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The Indie Acts to Discover at Lebanon's Oakenfest

Postcards, Kinematik, Sanam, Maryam Saleh and more in this cross-genre lineup amidst the trees.

Youssef Armanios

The Indie Acts to Discover at Lebanon's Oakenfest

Cover Image by Shadi Jaber


Lebanon’s Oakenfest is just two days away, and we can already smell the forest breeze and feel the diverse beats of the MENA region’s most exciting indie acts. With a welcome party on day one, back-to-back concerts on day two and a festival closing on day three, we bring you a complete catalogue of acts to discover at Oakenfest 2023.


Sorry Bass?

The iconic mood-setters El Lahlouba, Lary and Club Heshik Beshik are teaming up to welcome you on day one of Oakenfest under the name ‘Sorry Bass?’. Their journeys will meet for the first time in an explosive heartwarming setting, with sounds inspired by Arabic pop, Arabesque Electro and EDM - and some unexpected surprises.


SANAM

Sanam is a Beirut-based free-rock post-folk sextet which brings a unique fusion of improvised rock, free jazz, and Arabic poetry bringing diverse influences from Beirut's independent music scene.

Experience their otherworldly album ‘Aykathani Malakon’ recorded during the challenging times, where regional folklore meets experimental instrumental magic with low-tuned guitar jams, industrial drums, earthy vocals and an immersive collection of dark and spacious textures.

Si-bemol and Arsenous

Collaborating under the name Si-bemol and Arsenous, this synth-folk duo creates a unique blend of nostalgic synthesizer sounds with organic Mediterranean folk music. Their music is a journey where the past harmonizes with the future, and electronic merges with acoustic to form an intricate layer of ethereal atmospheres.

Postcards

Formed in Beirut in 2012, Postcards is a music trio comprising artists Julia Sabra, Pascal Semerdjian and Marwan Tohme. Merging their signature dream-pop sound with post-punk, noise and poignant lyrics, their creations speak to the contradictory and paradoxical nature of life in Beirut and represent a generation seeking grounding and belonging in the aftermath of war. The band has three EPs and three albums under their belt, with their hit song walls garnering over 250K listens on Spotify.

Bu Nasser Touffar

A Lebanese rapper who raises his voice to break the silence of a marginalized society, Tourffa’s songs and writings were used as anthems in the Lebanese demonstrations and protests. After dozens of successful live shows in various Lebanese regions, and several sold-out concerts in Turkey, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Marseille, the artist returns to his home country in a more intimate than usual setting.

Maii & Zeid Hamdan

This Arabic indie pop duo - consisting of Maii Waleed, a talented singer-songwriter and guitarist from Alexandria, Egypt, and Zeid Hamdan, a renowned producer from Beirut, Lebanon - joined forces in 2010 during a serendipitous encounter. After the release of their debut album 'Moga', Maii & Zeid embarked on a successful regional tour, captivating audiences in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. Maii's guitar and vocals harmonize seamlessly with Hamdan's synthesizers and electronics, delivering an unforgettable concert experience that has energized the Arab music scene in recent years.

Kinematik

Kinematik is a Lebanese post-rock ensemble who took the stage for the first time at Oakenfest 2014 and are making a return to where it all began. They gained recognition with their debut album ‘Ala’ in 2017 and subsequently performed in Lebanon and Europe. Despite the challenges of the Lebanese uprising and the COVID-19 pandemic, Kinematik persevered and expanded into a six-member ensemble. They performed at the Irtijal Festival in 2020, which led to the creation of their third album, ‘Al Jadi’, featuring intricate compositions blending electronic and jazz elements.

Melissa Kassab

Melissa Kassab has travelled the roads, alone or accompanied, and has created a precise yet always fresh and unexpected imaginary world, bringing her captivating blend of indie folk, lo-fi pop, and alternative country.

As a folk artist of the concrete jungle and wide-open spaces, her universe took shape through a hundred performances in Europe and the US. This Swiss Lebanese singer-songwriter's soulful melodies and introspective lyrics will transport you to a realm of heartfelt emotions.

Bonne Chose / شئ طيب

Featuring Abdo Sawma on the drums and percussion, Rami Abou Khalil on the piano, keys and synths, and Charbel Sawma on bass and synth, the Lebanese band Bonne Chose’s soulful melodies encompass a unique blend of jazz, experimental sounds, sampling, psychedelic rock, and synth wave.

Maryam Saleh

One of Egypt’s most outspoken and controversial artists, Maryam Saleh is expected to be joined by Zeid Hamdan on Oakenfest’s stage. Their album ‘Halawella’ is a testament to their creative prowess, defying conventional boundaries with its infusion of sarcasm and captivating melodies. Maryam's powerful vocals and Zeid's innovative interpretations breathe new life into the songs, leaving audiences captivated and intrigued. From the political and social turbulence in Egypt to their successful tours across the Arab world and Europe, the duo has garnered a diverse and dedicated following.

Horse, I'm Virus

Experience the intensity of ‘Horse, I'm Virus’, a Swiss-Lebanese duo of unruly hoodlums who bring back the spirit of 80s post-punk blended with the relentless intensity of 90s electronic music. Valentin Savio and Serge Ghazale will unleash their gutter music directly in your face with intentions to taste the anguish and face your demons.

Jana Saleh

Closing the festival is Lebanese performer, music producer, composer and DJ Jana Saleh. The artist has sets featured on Radio El-Hara, NTS radio, Musica Sawa and a composition dubbed ‘Soupire’ featured on Irtijal Festival’s Istimrar phase 1 compilation.

For more information, visit the official Oakenfest instagram page.

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