Check out the headliners for this year’s Wasla festival

 
 

Mashrou' Leila are a four-piece indie band based in Beirut, Lebanon. Their rousing, sensual electro- pop anthems about political freedoms, race, religion and modern Arabic identity have challenged the status quo of the Middle-Eastern pop industry. The loose collective of students who began jamming together in 2008 at the American University of Beirut has gradually focused into a an ambitious, fiercely articulate quartet: vocalist/lyricist Hamed Sinno, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Firas Abou Fakher, violinist Haig Papazian, and drummer Carl Gerges.

The music they make has further evolved into a charged, atmospheric version of pop that is geographically impossible to place. The lyrics draw on their collective experiences, which the band shares with many in the Middle East and addresses the need for self- expression and a judgment free culture - a notion often stifled in a conservative society. Through their relevant and charged lyrics, their music has resonated with fans all over the globe, gaining international recognition for the band. CNN has described Mashrou’ Leila as “The voice of their generation” while the Financial Times have called them “The Arab world’s most influential independent band”.

*Tickets can also be purchased in Virgin Megastores


Officially formed in 2003, Cairokee’s sound has evolved tremendously from one album to the next, reflecting their goal and ambition to sing along with Cairo, a fast paced and continuously changing City. The idea of writing their lyrics, playing music and performing live for local and global audiences (all before the age of 30) was a dream come true for these childhood friends. The band currently consists of Amir Eid (vocals & rhythm guitar), Tamer Hashem (drums), Sherif Hawary (Lead guitar), Adam El-Alfy (bass guitar) and Sherif Mostafa (Keyboard).

Cairokee’s first major hit was “Sout El Horeya”. Soon after this success, came “Matloob Zaeem, “Ethbat Makanak” and other great numbers. Their album featuring Aida ElAyoubi on the track “Yal Midan” helped lead the album “Matloob Zaeem” to top of the Egyptian charts for months. Their second album “Wana Maa Nafsy Aaed” contained singles such as “Ehna El Shaab” written by the legendary Abd El Rahman El Abnoudy. In 2014, Cairokee released “ El Sekka Shemal”, featuring collaborations with Souad Massi and the legendary Ahmed Fouad Negm. Their 5th album, "A Drop of White" released in 2017.

*Tickets can also be purchased in Virgin Megastores


For nearly 15 years, the disruptive lyrics of Massar Egbari, paired with Arabic rock tunes, fused with Western and Jazz sounds, has taken the music scene by storm. Their jaw-dropping beats and signature style has deeply influenced and shaped the indie music scene in Egypt and the rest of the Arab region. Officially formed in 2005 in Alexandria, Egypt, the current band consists of Ayman Massoud (Keyboards), Hani El Dakkak (Guitar and Lead Vocal), Ahmed Hafez (Bass guitar), Tamer Attallah (Drums) and Mahmoud Siam (Guitars).

The band name means “Compulsory Detour”, and is a reflection of how societal pressure forces people to think and live in a certain way. Mixing Rock, Jazz and Blues with Oriental music, Massar Egbari’s performances concentrate on music and songs that addresses social problems, while also poking fun at them. Their hit singles include “Fakra”, "Sabahek" and "Mat7asebsh". Bestowed the title of “Artists for Intercultural Dialogue” by UNESCO in 2010, Massar Egbari has performed widely in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and the Middle East. In December 2018, they released their latest and of most successful Album, “EL-Album”.

*Tickets can also be purchased in Virgin Megastores


47SOUL is an Electro Arabic Debke (Shamstep) band formed in Amman Jordan in 2013. The members are rooted in Bilad Al-Sham, spanning the divides from Amman to the Galilee to Ramallah and the rest of the Palestinian Diaspora. This new sound of 47SOUL has rapidly amassed fans in the Arab World and Europe through underground music scenes. Building on top of beats that have been bumping in the Arab World for centuries, 47SOUL hypes it up with analog synthesizers, hypnotic guitar lines and shattering verses. Their lyrics, mixing Arabic and English, call for celebration and freedom in the struggle for equality, inside Bilad Al Sham and throughout the world. The current lineup includes: Z the People (vocals & synths) El Far3i (darouka, Mc/Vocals) Walaa Sbeit (percussion, Mc/vocals) El Jehaz (guitar & vocals)

Overcoming physical and logistical challenges, 47SOUL comes together to play electronic Palestinian dance music. 47SOUL performs about freedom of movement, whether that’s sparking new dance styles or singing about breaking down border check points. For the past 2 years the band has based itself in the UK, spreading their new wave of Arabic music and introducing the world to a new genre of music; Shamstep.

*Tickets can also be purchased in Virgin Megastores


Formed in 2009, the music of El-Morabba can be described as deliciously dark and euphoric; unique musical beats filled with lyrics that crash down on you with the intensity of their truth and reality. This Jordanian Palestinian band that means The Square, are well known for their hit songs ”Aghaneek” and “El Mokhtalifeen”

Their fresh rock/post-rock electronic sound is spacey, raucous and holistic and their artistic journey has helped break cultural barriers, making El-Morabba one the most socially and politically relevant bands in the Arab independent music scene. Tackling issues such as corruption and injustice, politics, religion and border limitations, the band has gained massive appeal with a generation of hunger-stricken fans who craved a new sound that could express their thoughts, concerns and anger.

*Tickets can also be purchased in Virgin Megastores


CHECK OUT THE OPENING LINEUP OF ARTISTS THAT WILL PAVE THE WAY AND SET THE TONE FOR THE HEADLINERS TO COME!

REDAROUND

Redaround is a band of four based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with vocalist Amr Hisham, lead guitarist Omar Wahby, rhythm guitarist Omar Beshbishy, and drummer Alaa Ibrahim. The majority of the band hails from Egypt, excluding the drummer who is Lebanese. Formed in 2015, the band started by performing at various open mic nights; however, as their career advanced and their name spread, they began opening at bigger events such as Wasla and collaborating with brands such as Farfetch. Each member of the band has their own tastes and musical inspirations, and that is what results in Redaround’s unique blend of Arabic and Western genres. Redaround’s debut album, Circus, was released in January 2018, and had a mixture of Rock, Pop, Latin, Arabic genres, among others. Redaround are currently writing and recording their upcoming EP, which is set for a 2019 release.


KARROUHAT

Wasla's resident DJ, Basil Alhad will be taking over the decks this year throughout the festival. The multi-faceted songwriter, composer, and singer, DJ Karrouhat has an eclectic ear and fuses genres from Arabic music to Reggae.


NOON

NOON are the audio approximation of the Emirates’ cluttered cosmopolitanism and contemporary, borderless ethos. Made up of three players, drawn from different cultural and musical backgrounds, the instrumental trio bravely embody, and certainly enliven, the hackneyed idea of East/West musical fusions. Up front is the sound of the oud, but sonically framed by electric bass and drums – and freed by the improvisatory impulses of jazz – they call it “experimental Oriental”.


SHAGHAF

Translating to ‘Passion’, the Egyptian, Alternative Rock band is assembled by three members that have a great passion for expressing themselves in the most common, distinguished language known to mankind; music. Connected since high school, they went on to NYU Abu Dhabi together as a trio, and since have won the 2018 Battle of the Bands at their alma mater. Catch them do their thing this year at Wasla.