Y.A.S ( NOTRE SOIREE COUP DE COEUR)
July 23, 2009 - 8:00 pm
Yasmine Hamdan, ex singer of “Soap Kills”, is back to Lebanon with a new album “Arabology”, produced by Mirwais, Madonna’s sound producer. Having received critical acclaim all over Europe, Y.A.S will face the Byblos public for a long awaited show.
YAS, the first international electro project that places Arabic language at the center of pop culture, consists of Mirwais Ahmadzaï and Yasmine Hamdan.
Yasmine Hamdan was born in Beirut, and shunted around between Lebanon, Greece and the Gulf countries. Bred on various musical moods, inspired by artists such as Chet Baker, Grace Slick, Janis Joplin or Nina Simone and fascinated by the traditional Arabic repertoire, she co-founded Lebanese underground trip-hop band Soapkills, in which she performed sensual songs that translated Arabic moods onto minimalistic, dub-oriented electronic sound-scapes. Yasmine met Mirwais in Paris, where she lives today, at a Madonna concert. Mirwais listened to some of her demos and suggested that the two of them collaborate as ‘YAS’.
In addition to singing in Arabic while adopting Lebanese, Egyptian and Kuwaiti accents, Yasmine composes and writes her own lyrics. The result is explosive; entirely new, totally intelligible… Nothing in common with the concept of colonial “world-music”… If one is looking for a frame of reference, then think of Daft Punk, Kraftwerk and Madonna, put them in a shaker made in Lebanon, shake vigorously and serve on the rocks. That is YAS: a terrific shot of Arabic electro-pop that goes straight to your head and gets your hips instantaneously moving!
The other half of YAS is Mirwais Ahmadzaï, a notorious, Afghanistan-born musician who led French New Wave band Taxi Girl in the 80s. Nowadays a renowned electronic artist thanks to his album Production, Mirwais has performed production work for French rock singer Daniel Darc (his former partner in Taxi Girl), Juliette (from Juliette et les Indépendants), and of course Madonna… Mirwais received international recognition in 2000, when he revamped Madonna’s sound on her album Music and its follow-up, American Life. Both album achieved worldwide success, and contributed to reinstating the career of the Queen of Pop.
Mirwais’s personality and production skills are unique. He has been rated among the five greatest contemporary producers (alongside Timbaland and Dr. Dre) by Esquire Magazine.
In the 21st century, Mirwais worked with New York-based electroclash band Fischerspooner, did some remixes for Scottish punk band Franz Ferdinand, and worked on original film soundtracks, including Palestinian director Elia Suleiman’s Divine Intervention. In 2009, he returns to the fore of the Pop scene with a project close to his image: 100 % artistic. Pop and radical. Pop as in popular, accessible to everyone and the avant-garde. The first album where Arabic and avant-garde are propelled to the center of pop culture!
- Arabology (AZ, 2009)