Review of Mashrou’ Leila’s “Lil Watan”
Mashrou’ Leila hit a nerve once again with the music video for their latest song “Lil Watan” from their album “Raasük.”
“Lil Watan” depicts the Lebanese government exploiting the people’s patriotism without really fixing the country. In their lyrics, they sing “Your laziness is useful […] they taught you the national anthem, and said you suffering would be helpful for the country.”
They also use the Lebanese national symbols to show how much the government hides behind them. The chorus expresses a strong sense of exasperation by demanding: “Stop preaching, come make me dance a bit.” This directly mirrors people’s exasperation in their failed government and their constant need to party.
Filming for the music video was in Metro Al-Madina in Hamra and was open for the public to watch. It definitely lived up to the song lyrics in a very unorthodox way when the video focused almost entirely on a belly dancer.
It is however notable that only the lead singer, Hamed Sinno, is seen with his microphone, suited up and singing next to Haig Papazian, the violinist. The rest of the band was barely visible in the background.
Furthermore, the irony in the set-up of the video did not go unnoticed. It resembled one of those one-man shows with a singer who has a hideous voice, but whom the Lebanese would still love watching while partaking in Arak..
This, of course, further perpetuated Mashrou’ Leila’s purpose of being a source of controversy. With Hamed Sinno being openly gay, and their songs criticizing everything and anything about the flaws of Lebanese society, they still “made it.”
They don’t have a record label, yet they managed to raise up to $60,000 through their fans to produce “Raasük.” They are now in the middle of their world tour, visiting big cities, such as Paris, Marseille, Istanbul and Montreal, with tickets that are almost sold out. Indeed, it’s an understatement to say that they’re occupying Arab pop. They’re triggering the start of a revolution.
Salam El Baba