Mashrou’ Leila is disbanding. Here are 5 songs to listen to

Fans take to social media to react to the news of the popular alternative rock group from Lebanon calling it quits.

Mashrou' Leila
Hamed Sinno, right, the lead singer of Lebanese alternative rock band Mashrou' Leila performs during the Ehdeniyat International Festival in Ehden town, Lebanon August 12, 2017 [Jamal Saidi/Reuters]

Mashrou’ Leila, arguably the most popular alternative rock group in the Middle East, has disbanded after facing what members called a more stifling climate in Lebanon, where it originated in 2008, and the rest of the Arab world.

Known worldwide, the band’s shows were regular sell-out successes but members still faced harassment from officials cracking down on events celebrating LGBTQIA+ people, as well as a wave of hostility from clergymen and other people.

“I decided it was enough. I also felt that each member of the band had a huge amount of stress on them. And this is not a normal life to have 100,000 people telling you on Facebook that you must die,” lead singer Hamed Sinno, who is openly gay, told the Sarde After Dinner podcast on Sunday.

In 2015 and 2016, their gigs in Jordan were cancelled, and in 2017, in a concert in Cairo, an Egyptian fan flying a rainbow flag would later be condemned by authorities as “inciting debauchery”. In 2019, Lebanon’s Byblos festival cancelled a Mashrou’ Leila concert “to prevent bloodshed” after calls from church leaders accusing the band of blasphemy and death threats on social media.

Amnesty International has previously blamed Lebanese authorities for failing to protect the musicians and called the cancellation of their concert “an alarming indicator” of Lebanon’s declining freedom of expression.

Rights groups and activists have been vocal about the pressure against the band as part of rising attacks on free speech and marginalised communities in Lebanon.

Shocked fans took to social media to express their disappointment over the news of Mashrou’ Leila’s disbanding, calling it the “end of an era”.

Others said the band’s songs resonated with them.

Sinno, who told the podcast that Mashrou’ Leila’s band members are not “thinking of working together again for now”, responded to the fans by posting a story on Instagram saying: “Super grateful for the deluge of support since last night. I’m not going to respond to DMs and posts, but I want you to know that I see you, and I feel cradled and loved.”

As the curtain is drawn on the stages that have hosted Mashrou’ Leila, here are five songs of theirs to listen to:

  • 1 – Fasateen
  • 2 – Raksit Leila
  • 3 – Bishuf
  • 4 – Shim El Yasmine 
  • 5 – Lil Watan


Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies