Leading artists hold gig in Beirut as part of global concerts in solidarity with refugees

Leading artists hold gig in Beirut as part of global concerts in solidarity with refugees
Mashrou' Leila, Chyno, Tanjaret Daghet, Jay Wud and Sand Moon play an intimate charity gig in a private home on Wednesday night, in support of refugee campaign #GiveAHome.
3 min read
21 September, 2017
The crowd huddled up together waiting to hear their favourite artists play [Twitter]
A private gig was held on Wednesday in the Lebanese capital Beirut, as part of a global initiative by Amnesty International and Sofar Sounds in solidarity with the plight of refugees.

The intimate concert saw emerging artists such as Mashrou' Leila, Syrian band Tanjaret Daghet, Chyno and Jay Wud play inside a private home as part of a worldwide day of concerts under Amnesty's #GiveAHome campaign.

The global initiative sought to demonstrate unity with refugees who have been forced to flee their homes to escape bloodshed and persecution.

The initiative saw some 300 private gigs played across more than 60 countries, bringing together established and emerging talents with refugees and local communities.

In Beirut, the event was held in the home of artist and photographer Ayla Hibri, who hosted some 60 people huddled up together, waiting to hear their favourite artists play.

The New Arab caught up with leading rapper Nasser Shorbaji, "Chyno", who kicked off Wednesday's event.

"Last night was beautiful," Chyno said. "It was a perfect intimate setting, and all the artists' songs reflected the same idea: belongingness."

Chyno, who fled Syria himself, told The New Arab that the Beirut gig was particularly important to him.

"I was in someone's home, talking about the necessity of feeling at home," he said, "My first album is called 'Making Music to Feel at Home'. That kind of went full circle with this event."

While the aim of the event was to bolster public support for refugees globally, the Beirut concert had a particular significance amid a recent wave of xenophobia and attacks on Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

"There are 22 million refugees in the world," Chyno told The New Arab, "That is only 0.3 percent of the world's population, and we are still struggling to give this tiny number a place to belong in.

"As artists, we have to be responsible and use ourselves as the platform, and as fans they have to be engaged because they are giving us that platform."

Similarly, Amnesty's Middle East campaigns director Samah Hadid saw the concert as an opportunity to reflect the power music has in bringing together communities to support refugees.

"Now more than ever we need to show the refugee community that there is public support for their plight.

"The concert in Beirut is a crucial opportunity for people in Lebanon to stand up for refugee rights and show refugees that they are still welcome here," Hadid said.

"We want to stand in support with all refugees, and particularly those in Lebanon who have fled war in search of safety, to show there is still support for refugee rights," she added.

Money raised during the Beirut gig went towards Amnesty's refugee campaigning work.