DABAKA is a new musical and audio-visual project consisting of a collaboration between Lebanese and Syrian artists. Known for their music in their own rights, they consist of Syrian electro-tarab producer Hello Psychaleppo, Khaled Omran from Syrian band Tanjaret Daghet, Lebanese musician Wassim Bou Malham from Who Killed Bruce Lee and Wass On Earth, and finally Wael Kodeih aka Rayess Bek from Lebanon, the artist who initiated the project in collaboration with Red Oak, a Lebanese non-profit organization. Also involved in the project is Lebanese video artist Joan Baz.
Funded by the UNHCR, DABAKA uses the Levantine folk dance and music of dabkeh as the focal point of the project, hoping to encourage conversation between artists about the role of art in uniting people.
The product of the project, a four-track EP, has just been released. The artists reimagine a few dabkeh classics into heavy-hitting electro dabkeh with live instruments, lush electronics, and fetching vocals.
It starts off with a "Ya Arab", a disco-dabkeh track with pulsing synths, hefty beats, and smooth vocals. It is a nice warm up for "S'Allahlah", a higher-energy throbbing techno-dabkeh track. The third track, "Ya Nass" weaves electric guitar into captivating beats, claps, and hypnotic vocals, that at one part chant a string of regional cities. Finishing up the EP is the "Wass on Earth Club Mix" of "S'Allahlah", which only takes the track deeper into the club.
Those interested in understanding better what this is all about can see the outfit perform live at The Grand Factory in Beirut tonight, and pick up the beautifully designed physical copy of the EP.
Learn more about DABAKA and Red Oak here.