Luminous and offbeat

Luminous and offbeat

AS THE youngest and most exciting band on the Lebanese music scene, Lumi embodies the glamour and chaotic dynamic of Beirut.

By Mohamad Kadry (Staff Reporter)

Published: Tue 15 Jul 2008, 3:29 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:10 PM

In a country where making music is a political statement in itself, Lumi’s hope is to represent all the new generations that aim at living in freedom and independence while expressing their full individuality.

Members Marc Codsi and Mayaline Hage are nothing short of revolutionary. In the midst of gunfire and escalating violence, the twosome had cancelled the initial Dubai launch of their debut album, ‘Two Tears in Water’, due to a sudden closure of Beirut International Airport last May.

Resilient to the core, Lumi is more than music and rhythm. Giving voice to a rising electric pop scene, the duo exudes elegance and avant-garde funk. Short for the French word ‘Lumiere’, meaning light, the wildly talented pair are keen on taking back the streets of Beirut with their unorthodox style and flair. Their weapons: electric guitar and mic in hand.

How has living in Lebanon influenced your music?

Living in Lebanon is an influence that works on two levels. First there is an emotional level which is the outcome of all the ‘action’ we live here. It’s obvious that living through extreme emotions such as war creates a need to channel those emotions somehow, so the music gives us that way to express the things that are mostly spontaneous.

Second there is another level, a more rational one that makes us Lebanese.

The balance of extremes, as anyone who travels to Beirut can experience, translates somehow in our music. We use a lot of raw sounds that we mix with very polished ones, and we like to add the sounds of Beirut.

Can you tell us the significance behind your band name, Lumi?

Lumi comes from the French word ‘Lumiere’, because we wanted to represent a certain light that opposes the dark of our sometimes gloomy environment. We want to be something that reflects a positive attitude towards the future. Many of our titles and lyrics are mostly abstract symbolism, free for interpretation. There is an idea of duality that is present in our music, since we are a duo, and the rest is left for imagination.

How did you come together as a duo? Do you think that you feed off the other’s energy and sound?

Well, we met during a period where we were both involved in ‘experimental music’, so when we started to play together it was with an experimental ensemble.

Slowly the idea of doing a more serious project together grew as we felt we had the same influence, not just in music but in life.

Your sound consists of some of the most original music to ever come out of the popular music scene in the Middle East.Where does this unique blend of vocals, instruments, and lyrics stem from?

Well, there is a lot of original music in the Middle East, but you have to search, ha ha. The problem is that most of the good stuff never makes it to mainstream media, so it stays hidden and only known to an intellectual minority. I think the blend that makes our sound is the fruit of a long process and a process in constant evolution.

Tell us about your new album. How much work went into it? Now that it’s available, are you able to step back and dwell on what you have achieved?

It’s the album we wanted to have since the beginning and it took us a lot of time to get there, but we’re very happy it finally came through. I think it was really worth it on a personal level for us. The songs were actually recorded and arranged in my home in Beirut, then we went to Düsseldorf in Germany where we had the chance to work with a fabulous producer who was able to push our sound and compositions further. As for dwelling on our achievements, I prefer to look forward not back.

You use many local political references in your music as well as your video clips. Are you hoping your music will have a positive effect on the fragile political climate found in the region?

Well I think our music should have an impact. It’s a statement that says ‘We are Lebanese’, so this music represents a certain vision of Lebanon and of the Middle East. It’s a vision that is shared by a large number of the Lebanese and Arab youth. The politics here are a reflection of the people and in order to really change a political situation, you have to change the people’s mentality. It’s a difficult and long process, and I hope our music can play a role in that.

You both seem to come alive during live performances. What is it about playing in front of an audience that you love so much?

It gives sense to everything we do, it’s our playground.

Having people in front of you who are enjoying the music, dancing and singing is the best feeling. It feels like a shared communion of peace.

With the debut of your first album, your music is gaining momentum internationally. For those who haven’t been introduced to you yet, how would you describe your individual personalities, and what to expect from your music?

We are two bizarre creatures from a bizarre country.

Nobody understands what’s happening in Lebanon because people see random images in the media, and even for us it’s sometimes impossible to makes sense out of everything. But everybody understands the music because everybody can relate to it.

So suddenly Lebanon is not this faraway country where never ending conflicts take place, it becomes a close friend.

Your lives must be chaotically busy at the moment. Can you tell readers the craziest thing that has happened to you thus far? Maybe even a funny story?

We missed three planes during our European tour last week! The first one was for Beirut, and I confess we were at fault. The second one from Paris to Barcelona was cancelled due to technical failure on the plane (which had been noticed after we boarded!) The third missed plane was in Belfast going to London due to Belfast airport security.

What do you want people to ultimately take away from your eclectic music?

A lot of joy and fun, maybe some emotions along the way, and maybe a little touch of craziness.


WHAT: Lumi

WHERE: Alpha Club, Le Meridien, Garhoud

WHEN: Tuesday, July 15

ENTRY: Free for ladies all night, Dh50 for men after midnight

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