Mayssa Jallad – Marjaa: The Battle Of The Hotels

A haunting release, this one.  Imagine dark experimental music mixed with war-ravaged architecture in what was one of the most beautiful cities in the world during the 1970s, Beirut.  This is the terribly beauty Mayssa Jallad offers. From Ruptured Records’ Bandcamp site:

“The album comprises two parts. Part A: Dahaliz, is a stroll in the city, where Jallad tries (and fails) to follow an old map. Musician Youmna Saba is a companion in this journey of remembering the once winding corridors (“Dahaliz”) of the city, destroyed by new developments since the 1960s. Empty skyscrapers propel her onto a past filled with the violence of snipers, and a present filled with the glamorous injustice of empty luxury real estate endorsed by powerful warlords-turned-politicians.

In Part B: Maaraka, Jallad inhabits the building of the Battle of the Hotels, as its events unfold. She calls the fighting militias the Blues and Reds, respectively the Lebanese Front (Christian Nationalists) and the Lebanese National Movement (Pro-Palestinian leftists), leveling the playing field, and drawing a map of the battle through songwriting. Sary Moussa produces the conclusion of the battle in “Holiday Inn (March 21 to 29)”, which ends with the ultimate severance of the city of Beirut.

The music caters to post-war youth who have never been taught this difficult history. Once we consider the “Battle of the Hotels” as our common heritage, it provides an opportunity to teach the value of civil peace. It is also a call to protest for the renewal, rather than the recycling of the political class that has once destroyed the country and holds us, to this day, hostage of its violence.”

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