Soap Kills

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Soapkills
Origin Lebanon
Genres Trip hop
Years active 1998–present
Labels Independent
Website SoapKills.com
Members Zeid Hamdan
Yasmine Hamdan

Soapkills is an indie electro-pop band based in Lebanon. The group was formed in October 1997 when Zeid Hamdan and Yasmine Hamdan, both born in Beirut in 1976 but not related, decided to explore and combine their interest in classical Arabic song and electronic music.

Currently a cult group in Lebanon, Soapkills draws inspiration from both classical Arab music and the new electro scene blossoming in the Middle East. French media have described them as "Trip hop à l'orientale" [1] The band's name was initially that of a song written by Zeid Hamdan, and according to him referred to the reconstruction of Beirut after the Lebanese Civil War: "We thought that at the time, in the context of Beirut being ... you know, reborn, and all the war being wiped clean, we thought, wow, it's shiny and it's awful and it's soap kills. We thought it would be a nice name for a band."[2] The group's sound was initially dominated by a Roland MC-303 Groovebox, which Zeid Hamdan had acquired to replace musicians after the dissolution of Lombrix, a rock band that he had founded in the mid-1990s with Yasmine Hamdan and others.[2]

The band appears on several compilations, has recorded the albums Bater (2001, for which it was joined by Rabih Mroué and Walid Sadek playing flute and trumpet[2]) and Cheftak (2002), and has performed in Paris, Berlin, Syria, Algeria, Congo, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Sydney. In 2005, Soapkills released their last album to date, entitled Enta Fen. The album features new material as well as remixes of their previous songs. In 2007, the band was mentioned in Time as part of "small but artistically significant rock scene" in Beirut.[3]

Yasmine Hamdan and Zeid Hamdan both started working on solo projects. Zeid went on to form a band called The New Government, while Yasmine, during a Madonna party in Paris, met with the producer Mirwais. Together, they formed the duo Y.A.S. The project places Arabic lyrics at the center of electronic beats, and the album Arabology was released in France in March 2009. Yasmine went on to release her first solo album, entitled Ya Nass, which came out internationally in 2013 on Crammed Discs.

In 2008 there were talks about a Best Of CD, consisting of the Zeid/Yasmine's most popular tracks, but various offers from producers have been rejected.[4] There is uncertainty about Soapkills' future, whether the band will reform or if they are completely dissolved is yet to be announced, but Yasmine has stated that Soapkills had been banned from radio and TV airplay and she hopes that Y.A.S won't have the same fate in France.[citation needed]

Film soundtracks and collaboration in art works[edit]

Soapkills were featured in the soundtracks of many feature films in Lebanon including A Perfect Day (2005) by Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas.[5] One of their songs is the main theme of What Shoes (2006), a short by Gregory Buchakjian.[6]

In 2002, Soapkills collaborated with artist Lamia Joreige and choreographer Makram Hamdan for the Bater Dance Project a multimedia installation and performance.[7]

Discography[edit]

Albums
  • Bater (2001)
  • Cheftak (2002)
  • Enta Fen (2005)
Extended plays
  • Lost (1998)
  • Live at Circus (1999)

July 2011 arrest of Zeid Hamdan[edit]

Numerous Lebanese media have reported that former lead singer of Soapkills, Zeid Hamdan, was arrested on 27 July 2011, reportedly for political sedition.[8] He was detained over a song deemed insulting to President Michel Suleiman, a former army chief. Slandering the president carries a maximum two-year sentence in Lebanon. Officials reportedly took exception to the lyrics: 'General go home'. He was released the day after, and was told to "go home".[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Live - Soap Kills arte, 3 June 2003 (in German)
  2. ^ a b c Wilson-Goldie, Kaelen (May 20, 2006). "From Soap Kills to Mooz Records, musician has no plans to clean up his act". Daily Star. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  3. ^ Butters, Andrew Lee (2007-09-20). "Postcard: Beirut". Time. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "A Perfect Day". Abbout Productions. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "Nafas Beirut". Xanadu. 2006. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "THE BATER DANCE PROJECT". Lamia Joreige. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  8. ^ http://english.ahram.org.eg/~/NewsContent/5/33/17487/Arts--Culture/Music/Lebanese-musician-Zeid-Hamdan-arrested.aspx
  9. ^ "Lebanon frees singer Zeid Hamdan in 'slander song' case". BBC News. 28 July 2011. 

External links[edit]