Tarabeat at Radio Beirut

Katharine Gordon
Staff Writer

“Tarabeat” held a show at Radio Beirut on Thursday, October 19. While the band members tend to change from show to show due to various conflicts, this particular concert featured Camille Feghali on synth and ney, Rita Bitar on violin and mixer, and Ibrahim Youssef on cello, oud, and keyboard.

Their set began as it usually does with a hauntingly beautiful ode to traditional Arabic music. However, the magic of their music lies in the transition from this sound to electronic. The moment they begin to mix, the sound morphs into something you can’t help but dance to, and the show really begins.

Fusing traditional Arabic music with electronic mixing, “Tarabeat” has been offering a unique musical experience since its inception in 2016. With a variety of different instruments including ney, cello, violin, kanun, oud, and bass guitar, the members of “Tarabeat” are able to create complex lyrical compositions without sacrificing memorability. The electronic twist to their music is done via a mixer and laptop, which allows them to achieve their signature blend of conventional Arabic melodies and synthesized sound.

The band was founded by Camille Feghali, Ibrahim Youssef, and Hani Soued, all former co-members of “Afrobeats”, an African-fusion band. In 2016, they began developing a new kind of fusion music, and after completing six songs, began playing live shows. They have appeared at many venues across Lebanon including Radio Beirut, The Grand Factory, Back Door, and The Art Lounge. The band has also played in Zahle, Baalbek, Dar el Amar, and Tripoli and yearly at “Fête de la Musique” in Gemmayze.

In a conversation with Feghali, he said, “We realized how much we progressed since last time because the new songs we’re doing are getting better and better, quality wise.” He also noted that the reaction of the audience was exactly what they were hoping for. People danced, whistled and performed “Tayyib”, signs of a mutual appreciation between band and audience.   

The thing about “Tarabeat” is that you can’t help but get wrapped up in the music. It is, in one word, infectious. The bar was packed with friends and fans who clearly shared this opinion. To say the least, the show was a success, which was obvious by the loud screams of “encore” at its closing.

As a venue, Radio Beirut provided the atmosphere that their music requires. The characteristic pink-red lighting and professional sound system allowed the music to reach its full potential. Although too small and packed for dancing, the venue projected an underground, yet relaxed atmosphere.

Perhaps this is also a way to describe “Tarabeat”. They are underground and have simultaneously garnered success. Yet despite their accomplishments and successes, the band members always remain approachable. Their success is in their music, which reflects their knowledge and passion for both current and the traditional music, as well as their creativity in fusing the two together.

The band hopes to begin publicizing and playing at more venues in Lebanon and possibly abroad. Producing an album and getting more songs on “SoundCloud” are also future goals for the group. To check out “Tarabeat”, look up their Facebook page, and keep an eye out for upcoming shows around the city.

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