Lumi tunes

LEBANESE ELECTRO-POPPERS Lumi return to Dubai this week, where they will squeeze in a hat-trick of shows into just two days.

By Adam Zacharias

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Published: Thu 19 Mar 2009, 10:23 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:43 PM

The duo, comprising Beirut natives Marc Codsi and Mayaline Hage, took their name from the French word ‘lumiére’, which means ‘light’. The band claim this reflects their wish to bring brightness and positivity to their home country, which has been beset with political strife and bloodshed over the years.

After signing with record label EMI Arabia, Lumi released their debut album Two Tears In Water last May. Recorded in Beirut and produced in Germany, the album showcases the group’s knack for catchy feel-good tunes, inspired by acts ranging from The Beatles to The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

City Times chatted with multi-instrumentalist Marc, who left a cushy career on the stock market in 2004 to follow his musical dreams.

What have you both been up to since the summer, when you last spoke with City Times?

Well, some rest after a hectic tour, enjoying my beloved bed and the sun. It didn’t last long and we got back to work afterwards writing new material mostly, which is something we love doing.

You’re coming here to play Dubai Bike Week – are either of you into motorbikes?

Not at all. Motorcycles are usually a cliché of the macho world which we’re not into, but I’m curious to see how many women will be there. Oh, and Deep Purple!

How are plans coming along for your upcoming European tour?

Well, we gathered a lot of experiences and contacts (on the last European tour) but it’s been hard to direct it all and get concrete returns. Now we have a manager in Europe and it’s helping us a lot – we can just focus on the music. After Dubai we’re going back to Europe to do a few important gigs, so it’s getting exciting.

Would you describe your music as political, or an escape from the political traumas and tensions you’ve encountered?

As I like saying, doing music in itself is a political act in our region. It’s a message to all who have tried to destroy our society, saying we’re staying in our country, we’re doing what we like and saying it out loud! We have the chance to live in a very beautiful region, where people are sick of problems. Everybody just wants to have some fun and say whatever they want to say – it’s our right and we should fight for it. But it’s also a message to all who live abroad and who only know the cliché of what Arabs are – they think terrorism, oil, a lot of kids and a few camels! If the people of the Western world – who are at the end of the day decision makers – know us better, it can have a big effect on their policies. This is where we’re very much behind compared to the Israelis, and it’s crucial that we change that.

Can you explain the story behind your song Don’t F With My Cat?

It’s symbolic and it’s what you make of it. We get some funny interpretations – it would be shame to give our own story and cut the flow of people’s imaginations, Fantasies are always more interesting than real life.

Are you optimistic for Lebanon’s future and that peace will last?

Lebanon and its surroundings have always been the epicentre of all the problems in the region – everybody shouts everywhere but they only fight here. It’s been going on for decades, through cycles and we have no indication that it’s going to stop, although we’d like to believe so. I think as long as all the global problems aren’t solved in their essence, peace will only be momentary. It’s time we look at the long run and act for a real change, not for something that will just keep us going for a while.

Have you drawn many comparisons with The Ting Tings yet, given your electro-pop sound and your boy-girl line-up?

Not so much, but I love The Ting Tings. Their music is different from ours cause it’s much simpler, it’s only based on a few elements that are very effective. We tend to develop things more in the production and arrangements, and live we are four with Malek and Tony playing the drums and the bass.

Have you started working on a follow-up for Two Tears In Water?

Oh yeah! We never stop writing material – we’re actually finalising two tracks that we hope to put in our Myspace page soon. A lot of the new tracks will be played in our live sets at Bike Week and in our Alpha gig on the 20th. It’s going to be the first time we play those tracks live, so we’re quite excited about that. The moment a song exits the microsphere of your room and gets unleashed outside is very exciting.

Why are Lebanese people so attractive and why do they like to party so much?

I guess attractiveness is historically an important element for Lebanese society, which has its good and bad sides. But the Lebanese people always have this need to please others and show them good times, a generosity that surely comes from the generosity of our own nature and land. Regarding partying, it’s very simple. We learned the lesson that life is short, and that we never know what’s going to happen next. It built this emergency in us, and we have to live each moment fully.

What are the two of you like personality-wise? Do you complement or clash with one another?

Mayaline is ‘the moon and the fire’ which makes me a fireman most of the time.

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