Some may be familiar with Mayssa Jallad, or at least her voice. In the past eight or so years, she has been the frontwoman of the Lebanese indie-rock duo ‘Safar’, who have been making waves in Beirut and around the world with concerts across several continents.
The project is the first of a three part series between Brooklyn-based global artist collective Found Sound, and Beirut label Thawra Records, highlighting unique creative works that were conceived in the summer of 2021 as part of the OneBeat Lebanon music residency.
Here, Jallad was put together with producer Khaled Allaf, which resulted in this newly released single. The collaboration and track ‘Madeena min Baeed’, translating to ‘A City from Afar’, draws upon the collective trauma experienced by the Lebanese population after the catastrophic 2020 Beirut explosion and the following national collapse.
Along with the track comes a very ambitious video created by the award-winning Lebanese director Ely Dagher. In the video, the body and face of Mayssa Jallad at first appears flawless and untouched, but is, as the video unfolds, seen cracking up and falling apart, and hereby serves as an analogy of her home country of Lebanon post the 2020 explosion. The effects of the cracking and crumbling of the human body, almost seems like something done in a 3D-software programme, but is in fact done solely by using green markers, paint and backgrounds, and is one of most impressive and creative uses of greenscreen we have seen in a long time.
The production on ‘Madeena min Baeed’ is done by electronic musician and prolific oud player Khaled Allaf. The beat is relatively simple, with a four-chord synth pattern, atmospheric synth bridges, low-key trappy drum programming and some bridging risers. But with this somewhat sparse instrumental, Allaf has created a very catchy beat, and managed to select an arsenal of sounds and effects almost perfectly complimenting each other, and at the same time allowing the voice of Jallad to flourish. The instrumental is blue and longing in a way that reminds one of some of the early 2010’s Tyler The Creator productions e.g. 2011’s ‘She’.
We are really excited to see what the next two parts of the collaboration between Found Sound and Thawra Records will bring to the table and very much hope to see further releases from Mayssa Jallad and Khaled Allaf.
Listen to ‘Madeena min Baeed’ and watch the video below.