Beirut and its inhabitants waver constantly between a relatively carefree outlook and a fear of insecurity, but Lebanon’s vital energy always shines through, whatever the circumstances. This energy manifests itself, for example, in the large number of venues for social and cultural activities throughout the city, where music plays a significant role.
There are a large number of musicians here, who perform in clubs across the capital, including many blues artists. Blues music is exceptionally popular in Lebanon, in fact. At the Byblos International Festival in July 2012, the audience welcomed the legendary B.B. King with unprecedented enthusiasm, even though he has been greatly affected by ill health.
As a blues lover myself, I got to know a group of fellow enthusiasts very soon after my arrival and began to meet up with them regularly in various clubs, especially Quadrangle in Hazmieh. We gradually formed a cohesive band, which – after many rehearsals at the Ambassador’s residence, the Résidence des Pins, where the acoustics are excellent ! – gave its first official performance last week, under the name of Funky Blues Brothers (well, that’s the best we’ve come up with for now…).
- Les Funky Blues Brothers | Photo : PP
A dress rehearsal on Monday evening was followed by the concert on Saturday 12. The club was welcoming (thanks Tony), the pizzas were excellent (again, thanks Tony), and there was a large audience : good vibrations ! After two hours of blues and rock – and a few original compositions as well ! – the group had been well and truly born and baptized : we cut the guitar-shaped cake and drank champagne !
There will be other concerts to come, and our next big target is the Beirut Jazz Festival at the end of the month.
- Les Funky Blues Brothers
PS : The members of Funky Blues Brothers are : Kamal on guitar, Tony on bass and pizzas, Fayez on drums, Bruno on keyboard and vocals, Patrice on guitar, vocals and harmonica. And then there are the friends who are always ready to lend a hand, including Arnaud on drums and percussion, and Tom and Issa on saxophone. With a little help from our friends !
PPS : In Beirut, there is also a band called Pochette surprise, but that’s another story. I’ll tell you it one day.