This article was published at StepFeed on April 9, 2016
The war in Syria may be the centermost topic overtaking our newsfeeds when it comes to the Middle Eastern country – and rightfully so – but remembering its artistry allows us to focus on those who, despite it all, choose to express themselves through music and art.
Here are the top five Syrian music acts who continue to make music and history.
1. Khebez Dawle – Alternative Rock
Currently touring Europe, Khebez Dawle (meaning State Bread) -a Syrian alternative rock band lead by Anas Maghrebi- is one music act that continues to defy all odds. Formed in Syria in 2012, the band members moved to Beirut to flee the ongoing violence and military conscription. Two years later, they moved to Turkey where they made the perilous boat trip with several other refugees across the Aegean Sea to the Greek island of Lesbos. Presenting their records as identification upon arrival and making international headlines with that, the quintet then moved from Greece, passing through Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia before finally arriving to Germany where they remain till date. You can follow their news via their Facebook page.
Khebez Dawle is: Anas Maghrebi (lead vox, guitar, percussion), Bachi Darwish (vox, guitar), Muhammad Bazz (bass), Hekmat Qassar (keyboards, guitar).
2. Tanjaret Daghet – Alternative Rock
Formed in 2009, Tanjaret Daghet (meaning Pressure Cooker) is a rock trio who moved to Beirut from Syria in 2011. With biting lyrics and powerful melodies, the band rose to prominence in the Beirut indie music scene with the release of their debut album “180 degrees’. They are currently working to release their new album ‘-4’, which they hope to complete by the end of this year. You can follow their news via their Facebook page.
Tanjaret Daghet is: Khaled Omran (lead vox, bass), Tarek Ziad Khuluki (vox, guitar & electronics), Dani Shukri (drums).
3. Hello Psychaleppo – Electro Tarab
Hello Psychaleppo -the musical project of Aleppan artist Samer Saem el Dahr– presents a unique blend of electronic sounds and golden age Arab pop music from the 1950s and 60s. Known by his nickname, “Zimo”, el Dahr -who also paints- moved to Beirut in 2012 looking for a gallery to display his work. WIth the Syrian revolution transforming into an armed conflict, his parents asked him to stay in Lebanon for his own safety. In its use of traditional Arab music, Hello Psychaleppo evokes feelings of nostalgia for the old with a modern electro/trip-hop twist. You can follow Hello Psychaleppo through this Facebook page.
Hello Psychaleppo is: Samer “Zimo” Saem Eldahr
4. Chyno – Hip Hop
Syrian-Filipino rapper Nasser Shorbaji, better known by his stage name ‘Chyno‘, is a force onto his own. The banker-turned-rapper, currently touring Europe to promote the release of his new album “Making Music to Feel at Home”, can be heard rapping seamlessly in both Arabic and English. Also known for being one of the front-men of regionally renowned hip-hop act Fareeq el-Atrash, Chyno’s recently released solo material is definitely building up the hype. You can follow his news via hisFacebook page.
Chyno is: Nasser Shorbaji
5. Bu Kolthoum – Hip Hop
Currently residing in Jordan, hip hop artist and producer, Mouneer Bu Kolthoum (aka Bu Kolthoum), is renowned for his unapologetic, raw verses. Using emotional, plaintive lyrics, he often expresses feelings of hurt that deal with subject matter including the plight of refugees, war, and death. To him, ‘sugarcoating’ the harsh realities do more harm than good. You can follow Bu Kolthoum via hisFacebook page.
Bu Kolthoum is: Mouneer Bu Kolthoum