May 15 2013
Yasmine became known with Soapkills, the duo she founded in Beirut, which may have been the first indie/electronic band to appear in the Middle East. In Soapkills, she found fame, some claim iconic, status among the vibrant, young arts scene which was popping in postwar Lebanon and kind of an emblem of that dynamically independent woman (a la Erykah Badu) throughout the Arab world. Her music is densely layered, a sequence of imagery and idea wrapped in songs that expand, contract and grow into the cortex of your musical appreciation.
She's even got enough savvy to have landed a role in Jim Jarmusch's next film Get It Right Action takes place in 2019's Cairo, where “50 years after Apollo, the Young Arab Space alliance is launching their first spaceship on the moon”. I scored a clip from a great resource for new updates on Arab culture called FreeArabs.com, this intriguing clip...
She’s collaborated with CocoRosie in the past, but it’s Nouvelle Vague mastermind Marc Collin to create transfixingly gorgeous, self-titled opus. Apparently, Yasmine drew from the repertoire and the attitude of great Arab women singers from the middle of the 20th century, including some little-known or half-forgotten figures, such as Aisha El Marta, Nagat El Saghira, Asmahan, Shadia, Mounira El Mehdeyya and many more for inspiration. Like all of these greats, her work here is subtly sensual and belies the ironic social criticism which pervades the lyrics.
Yasmine's vocals are definitely cut from the cloth of traditional of Arabic music but the music is fresh in a way that works; it's like an electro folk pop flower, springing in the desert… mysterious, dark and absolutely spellbinding.