Music and Design from Beirut and beyond

| January 11th, 2012, 10:59 PM

Over one especially memorable meal of delicious Armenian food in Beirut, I met the front men for Mashrou’ Leila, a lively 6-member indie band/orchestra that is a mix of traditional Arab music and rock. Driving home from dinner, we listened to their newly released album through the car stereo. Before I knew it, I was humming along. They play often in Beirut where they are very popular, but have never toured the US.

To see and hear more, watch this! 

Although I couldn’t translate most of the political posters and billboards littering the sides of buildings and buses, after driving around Beirut for a few hours, I quickly found that Middle Eastern graphic design is looking pretty fresh right now. My instincts proved true when I discovered that indeed it was a budding creative outlet for young artists and designers, especially amid the political fervor of the Arab Spring. Graphic identity and typography negotiates the balance of the old, calligraphic tradition, with the new—an apt metaphor for the dilemmas of the ongoing revolutions in the region.  I found this well-illustrated book (in English) featuring a number of new designers, including Persian designers as well. The editors have already released a second volume.

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