15 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Singer Yasmine Hamdan first became a popular figure in the Beirut scene and then the Arabic world thanks to her work in the duo Soapkills. From there she worked with the band CocoRosie, Mirwais (who worked on Madonna’s Music), and now with Marc Collin of Nouvelle Vague. Not surprisingly, the music here has Collin’s fingerprints all over it, blending dark electronic beats, acoustic guitar, and downtempo keyboard textures. Yet Hamdan herself is what separates this from the pack, drawing on the work of such 20th-century Arabic singers as Aisha El Marta, Nagat El Saghira, and others. Like the music, her sensual vocals tend toward subtlety even if she’s singing about various Arabic societal issues in different Arabic dialects. Highlights here include the stately synth ballad “Aleb,” the simmering “Deny,” and “Samar,” with vocals that switch between Middle East melodies and poppy Western ones. After all of Hamdan's work as a collaborator, her debut as a solo artist was a long time in coming, and it's a welcome one.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Singer Yasmine Hamdan first became a popular figure in the Beirut scene and then the Arabic world thanks to her work in the duo Soapkills. From there she worked with the band CocoRosie, Mirwais (who worked on Madonna’s Music), and now with Marc Collin of Nouvelle Vague. Not surprisingly, the music here has Collin’s fingerprints all over it, blending dark electronic beats, acoustic guitar, and downtempo keyboard textures. Yet Hamdan herself is what separates this from the pack, drawing on the work of such 20th-century Arabic singers as Aisha El Marta, Nagat El Saghira, and others. Like the music, her sensual vocals tend toward subtlety even if she’s singing about various Arabic societal issues in different Arabic dialects. Highlights here include the stately synth ballad “Aleb,” the simmering “Deny,” and “Samar,” with vocals that switch between Middle East melodies and poppy Western ones. After all of Hamdan's work as a collaborator, her debut as a solo artist was a long time in coming, and it's a welcome one.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5

29 Ratings

Ya Nice!

Adam Heinz,

Elegant, demure vocals over a satisfying synth background. Reminds me a bit of French house music. Not a bad song on the album!

Love Her Voice !

Armando Peralta,

What a wonderful Discovery I love her voice as well as her expressiveness classic

About Yasmine Hamdan

Yasmine Hamdan is a pioneer in Middle Eastern pop music; she was the leader of Soap Kills, generally cited as the first indie/electronic act to rise to fame in that part of the world, and went on to gain an international audience as a musician, songwriter, and actress. Born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1976, Yasmine's career in music began in the mid-'90s with a rock band called Lombrix, which also featured multi-instrumentalist Zeid Hamdan (despite sharing the same last name, they're not related). In 1997, after Lombrix split up, Yasmine and Zeid launched a new project that would combine traditional Arabic music with contemporary electronic sounds. Together, they formed Soap Kills, releasing their debut album, Bater, in 2001. Soap Kills was one of the first independent acts in Lebanon to gain a following, and became one of the most talked-about acts in the Middle East. After cutting two more albums, 2005's Cheftak and 2005's Enta Fen, and touring Europe, the Middle East, and Australia, Yasmine relocated to Paris, where she fell in with producer Mirwais, a former member of the band Taxi Girl who also collaborated with Madonna. Together, they created the 2008 album Arabology under the name Y.A.S.; Yasmine also made music with the American indie act CocoRosie. In 2012, Yasmine stepped out on her own, going into the studio with producer Marc Collin to record her first solo effort. The album, called Yasmine Hamdan, was released in France and Lebanon by the end of the year, while a revamped and expanded edition, titled Ya Nass, was given an international release by Crammed Discs in 2013. In 2014, Yasmine's international career got a serious boost when filmmaker Jim Jarmusch featured her in his hipster vampire film Only Lovers Left Alive, starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston; in the movie, Yasmine plays herself and delivers a mesmerizing performance at a nightclub in Tangiers. Yasmine returned in 2017 with her second studio album, Al Jamilat (The Beautiful Ones). Produced in part by U.K. producers Luke Smith and Leo Abrahams, the album also saw her collaborating with Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley and multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily. ~ Mark Deming

  • ORIGIN
    Beirut, Lebanon
  • BORN
    1976

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