Jordanian rockers to greet Turkish fans for first time
Jordanian alternative rock band El Morabba3 will take the stage for the first time in Turkey on Oct. 5 and 6 at Istanbul’s Salon IKSV.
Formed in 2009, the band released its self-titled debut album in 2012, followed by a second one titled “Taraf Al Khait” in 2016. They earned a considerable fan base in their own geography with the Arab rock genre they have created that falls far from traditional Arab music, and performed for thousands in many organizations. They are now here to introduce Arab rock to their neighbors.
Among the band members, Muhammad Abdullah is the band leader, song writer, vocalist and bassist while Eyad Hamam plays electric guitar and Zeid Mseis plays the drums and percussions. Basel Naouri is the trumpeter.
They explain their music as dreamy, spacey, euphoric and raucous, an experimentation of sounds that might be perceived as complex. But they say it is appreciated by a growing audience in the alternative music scene across the world.
They say music is both an escape and a come-back, a window to express any feelings or thoughts with no limits through anyone’s life journey.
They spoke about their musical journey in an interview.
What is the meaning of your name El Morabba3?
El Morabba3 literally means the square in Arabic language. The name to us represents a perfectly symmetric window (a square) through which we want to express ourselves. The perfection in square as a shape inspires us when we think of the sound perfection that we always aim to deliver, adding to that that the name gradually created a unique hook with the fans and it was the perfect differentiation to our positioning and labelling.
How did the musical journey of El Morabba3 start? How did you come together?
The idea to create a collective of musicians goes back in 2009, when Muhammad Abdullah and Tareq Abu Kwaik decided to bring their words and thoughts via songs they write to life. Working with professional musicians from Jordan, we released our self-titled debut album in 2012. By 2016 we released our second Album ‘Taraf Al Khait’ with three members since Tareq left the country. Abdullah continued to lead and enhance the collective project idea, where a diversity of innovative musicians would have the chance to add their own innovative flavor to the band’s work and contribute to the artistic evolution of El Morabba3.
Please tell us more about your Taraf Al Khait album.
In “Taraf al Khait” we experimented more with electronic music to add to what we do. We also explored different instrumentation styles like strings and trumpet in some songs. We added a lot of electronic elements which gave us a wider space to experiment with sounds. We also tried different instrumentation using string section, trumpet and female vocals in some tracks. We found that really fun to work with different musicians as it expanded our knowledge on how to incorporate those new sounds into our music.
The lyrics tapped more onto the human condition. Each song has its own world in terms of the theme and the lyrics are dreamy, melancholic, socially relevant and sometimes political as we cannot detach ourselves from the politics around us.
We like to think that this album reflects our maturity in making music and taking it to the next level.
What are your inspirations while creating your songs?
Our inspiration comes from various music styles that we’ve been absorbing as we grew up. We really can’t limit ourselves to certain influences. Plus Arabic music is so rich and we feel proud and lucky to be able to utilize our Arabic heritage into our own style.
How is your music perceived in the Middle East? What about the reaction of the audience all around the world?
I think we appealed to a generation of hunger-stricken fans living in an unstable and restless region as they craved a new sound that expressed their thoughts. We are glad to say we were able to reach fans in Europe and North Africa as well, we felt the connection is developing during our last tour in Europe and we know for a fact that the development of the digital world had helped our music to cross any boundaries and be made available globally to all our fans.
This will be your first gig in Istanbul. How do you feel about it?
We are very excited to finally perform in Istanbul. We sometimes receive messages from Turkish fans who ask when we’re coming to Turkey. It is finally happening and we are so much looking forward to being there for two consecutive shows.