Presented by: BCT Presents
Where: Buskirk-Chumley Theater
All tickets: $30.00
|Wednesday, November 8th 8:00 pm||Buy Tickets|
One of the Arab world’s most popular bands, and one of the most prominent voices of gay culture in the Middle East, Mashrou’ Leila’s performances fuse the craft of a music workshop with the punch of stadium rock. With their distinct approach to storytelling and orchestration, they crafted some of the most melancholic ballots and raucous anthems in contemporary alternative Arabic music, and went on to perform them live in sold-out venues worldwide: Beirut, Paris, Amsterdam, Montreal, Tuis, Geneva, Dubai, among many others.
If there’s one thing Mashrou’ Leila excel at, it’s confronting and dismantling assumptions. The loose collective of students who began jamming together in 2008 at the American University of Beirut has gradually focused into an ambitious, fiercely articulate quintet: vocalist/lyricist Hamed Sinno, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Firas Abou Fakher, violinist Haig Papazian, drummer Carl Gerges, and bassist Ibrahim Badr. And the music they make has focused, too, into a charged, atmospheric version of pop that is geographically impossible to place. You hear it the moment Ibn el Leil’s ‘Aeode’ begins with an assured yet restless bassline, bruised by the memory of dancing all night to Blondie and Joy Division; a shuffle-snap rhythm; synth notes that scan the scene like searchlights; a violin picking its way across rubble, and finally, after two full minutes of building intensity, a voice, breathy and unearthly. This isn’t a song or an album to limit to known categories: it’s music that might reshape the world.
And it’s music that has been capturing people across the world. Arab audiences are already huge: 10,000 people at shows in Egypt, 5,000 in Beirut and Dubai. And word is spreading: in December 2015 they played to a rapturous, sold-out audience in London’s Barbican, and in 2016 made their first visit to the US, wowing crowds in Brooklyn, Washington, and LA — crowds not just of expats but people with no Arabic background, let alone language skills.
On stage, they are a great live band: lithe, alluring, and just the right side of belligerent. Unsurprisingly, their authority-baiting discourse both in interview and lyrics has begun to provoke a reaction: “actual restrictions,” says Fakher, “like us not being able to perform in certain places in the Arab world.” But this is one assumption that’s safe to hold on to: that a band this great on stage are destined for stardom.
Doors will open at 7:30 for this evening with Mashrou’ Leila. There will be no opening performer. This is a general admission event and there will be no seats in the orchestra pit.
114 East Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, Indiana 47408
Owned by the City of Bloomington, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater is operated by BCT Management, Inc., a private non-profit organization. This theater, located one block off the Courthouse Square, seats 600 with an orchestra level and a balcony. Concessions and items purchased from BLU Boy may be taken into the auditorium. Restrooms, concessions, the box office, and the orchestra-level seats are all wheelchair accessible. Special seats are reserved for those using wheelchairs. Please contact the box office at 812.323.3020 to purchase those seats. Street, lot, and garage parking is available across downtown Bloomington.