Musician Hadi Zeidan brings his Lebanese roots to OzAsia Festival 2019
Beirut-born and Paris-based musician, Hadi Zeidan is presenting two shows: Beirut Electro Parade and Shik Shak Shok at the OzAsia Festival in 2019.
Both are immersive experiences, combining elements of the visual and audible, and draw strongly from his Middle Eastern heritage, bringing the sounds of the modern electronic scene in Lebanon to audiences around the world.
Learn more about Hadi Zeidan and his upcoming shows below.
What inspired you to get into music?
My career in music is the fruit of intuition, passion and a background of melomania due to the particular family setting I grew up with.
Music was always playing in the house and the family car, my grandmother and uncle were both musicians and I took piano and guitar courses at a young age. When I was in high school, I would perform at the yearly talent show as a guitar player, then I went to university and started collecting machines and synthesizers to develop the creative process and started posting projects online. Therefore, music has always been my companion and it has grown with me and changed forms from stripped-down acoustic gigs to big clubs and festivals.
How does your Middle Eastern background influence your work?
A few years ago, I decided to dive into Mediterranean/Middle Eastern heritage, a repertoire usually forgotten or left aside in our society. As an electronic musician, I have expressed this through an album entitled Taksim Analog in which I have recreated rhythms and melodies using analog synthesisers. Launching the web-radio Shik Shak Shok allowed me to archive and classify a big part of our Lebanese and neighbouring countries’ repertoire. When one speaks on ‘influence’ in a work they should not consider a simple collage of genres but try to converse between the intricacies of the different backgrounds that inspired the oeuvre (body of work).
Did you look up to any artists when you were growing up? If so, who and why?
Definitely the late David Bowie… the never-obsolete, timeless artist. What I admire about Bowie is his ability to incarnate different personas and still tell the intimate story of himself, let alone the musicianship and risks he took until his very last album Blackstar released only two days before he passed away.
What makes Lebanese music so different and unique?
The Lebanese are a people who have hosted both Western and Eastern civilisations. Lebanon has been historically fertile in agriculture but also in cultural exchanges, and this translates perfectly in Lebanese music history – it has accumulated influences from the Greeks, the Turkish (formerly Ottoman) who ruled Lebanon for more than five centuries, its neighbours, the Syrians/Bedouins, the Jews who led extremely sophisticated orchestras in the early 1900s in Bagdad and Cairo, the Armenians who represent a large diaspora in current Lebanon and the French and who are Lebanon’s long-lasting European friends. What makes Lebanese music so different and unique is Lebanon’s varied components. We are a nation of meetings, travels and wide horizons, which translates into our musical creations.
What can audiences expect from your performance at OzAsia this year?
We will be producing two events to showcase a panorama of Lebanon’s music scene/history. We will present Shik Shak Shok, a vinyl cabaret night that will take us back to an imaginary Lebanon of the 1980s, the decade that hosted both a terrible civil war and the golden age of Lebanese pop music. The paradox is surprising, I know, but it’s true!
We will also present Beirut Electro Parade, a showcase of the Lebanese capital’s modern soundscapes and clubbing scene born of the civil war, as a reaction to a ravaged Beirut following the 15-year civil war. The Lebanese people’s aspiration to survive after the war, complemented by entrepreneurial ventures and diasporas in the early 1990s, shaped a unique electronic music scene in Beirut that expresses itself in noise, industrial sounds, techno, post-punk, rock and more.
What advice can you give to future and upcoming artists?
I would advise anyone who feels the need to express themselves to do it with ethics, discipline and intimate approaches. In our digital world today, we need human artists who have not forgotten our humane values.
Shik Shak Shok
WHEN: Thursday October 31, 2019
WHERE: Nexus Arts, Adelaide
MORE INFO: https://www.ozasiafestival.com.au/events/shik-shak-shok/
Beirut Electro Parade
WHEN: Friday November 1, 2019
WHERE: Nexus Arts, Adelaide
MORE INFO: https://www.ozasiafestival.com.au/events/beirut-electro-parade/