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Mashrou3 Leila
05 Aug 2016

The band was formed in February 2008 at the American University of Beirut, when violinist Haig Papazian, guitarist Andre Chedid, and pianist Omaya Malaeb posted an open invitation to musicians looking to jam to vent the stress caused by college and the unstable political situation. Out of the dozen of people who answered the call, seven would remain to form Mashrou' Leila. Band members were encouraged by friends to perform in front of a live crowd; they put on a show as the opening act for a concert on the AUB campus. During the event, Mashrou' Leila proved to be the only band that composed and performed their original compositions. The band continued to play small venues and gain ground on the underground music circuit until they emerged onto the indie music scene during the Lebanese 2008 "Fête de la Musique" event (the yearly Music festival held by the Beirut municipality) sparking controversy for their unabashed and critical lyrics on Lebanese society, failed love, sexuality and politics.

Mashrou' Leila's members enjoy the wordplay and ambiguity surrounding their band's name. In English, the name can be interpreted as either “One Night Project” or “Leila’s Project”; Leila being a very common given name in Lebanon. When asked during an early interview about the origin of the name Mashrou' Leila, band members teasingly retorted that the band is a project started to collect money for a girl they knew called Leila. According to the band’s official Facebook page, Mashrou’ Leila means “An Overnight Project”, named for the nocturnal nature of the project characterized by all-night jam sessions.

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