Khebez Dawle performing at "Detmolder Sommerbühne 2016" in Detmold, Germany.
|Genres||Ambient, post-rock, indie rock|
Khebez Dawle (arabic خبز دولة, lit. 'Government Bread') is a Syrian-Lebanese post-rock band led by Anas Maghrebi. As of 2017, the band is based in Berlin. While the band members are war refugees, they prefer to see themselves as simply a rock band.
Formation and flight
Anas Maghrebi's previous band, Ana (arabic أنا, lit. 'I'), was formed following the uprisings that occurred as a result of the Arab Spring, was torn apart following the murder of the drummer of his bandmate, Rabea al-Ghazzi, and the drafting of the guitarist of the band into the army. In 2012, Anas Maghrebi formed Khebez Dawle in the midst of the Syrian Uprising. Before the war, the band was active underground because of Syrian censorship.
As the Syrian Civil War ensued, the guys opted at first to wait it out, while each individual was simultaneously trying to avoid conscription into the Syrian army; Bazz, Qassar, and Darwish fled Syria for Lebanon, and Maghrebi followed in 2013.
Thereafter, the band moved to Turkey, from where they made the perilous boat trip with twelve other refugee musicians on a dinghy of sixteen souls across the Aegean Sea to the Greek island of Lesbos. From Greece, they moved through Macedonia, Serbia, and Croatia.
Throughout their journey, the band used their records to pay (in part) for their trips, and even presented their records as identification.
According to some sources, the band's first performance in Europe was playing in a refugee camp.
Khebez Dawle did their first substantial European gig in Croatia's capital Zagreb at Klub Močvara (lit. "Club of the Swamp"), a popular cultural venue that in the past had hosted Mogwai and God is an Astronaut. The men were asked by activists to perform at a concert supporting refugees. At the sold-out club event, the bandmates played with borrowed instruments to a full house largely attended by Croatians.
Subsequently, Khebez Dawle got invitations to play two shows in Austria, and then performed in Cologne, Germany on New Year's Eve of 31 December 2015.
After arrival to Germany, the band members were known in March 2016 to await for a response about their status in Germany's former Berlin Tempelhof Airport, which had been repurposed into a large shelter and housing unit for migrants. During that time, the group toured and performed their music around Germany. As of late September 2017, the band members' refugee status has since been confirmed.
Konzerthaus Berlin performance
On 15 February 2016, Khebez Dawle performed in Konzerthaus Berlin on Gendarmenmarkt as part of the 'Cinema For Peace' charity gala, which was attended by many German celebrities. The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei had created an installation, in which the classicistic columns of the concert house were dressed in two thousand rescue vests from the island Lesbos. In addition, the attendant members of the public and celebrities were dressed in those same rescue vests and also thermal blankets. The totality of the installation was seen as tasteless. As the band had literally gone through the experience of crossing the perilous seas in the same vests that effectively saved their lives, one band member reacted to the installation by leaving a smashed guitar on the stage. Subsequently, the band members explained understanding of Ai Weiwei's art, but they countered this by describing seeing the rescue vests again as a terrible nightmare:
|“||From his [Ai Weiwei's] perspective, it is art, a message, that something is happening. But for others, it can be a nightmare to see the rescue vests again. I hated it, that people shot selfies; it is horrific, when one has experienced the danger themselves. All the extravagant people, that had only been waiting to speak and to be seen before a camera — it was so laughable.||”|
|— Bashar [sic]|
|“||We have not spoken about it since the concert till today [23 April 2016]. You know, when you wait out there and want to play music, and you see these people in rescue vests, and they drink sparkling wine, and you know that this vest once saved your life, and you know this trip and these people who have crossed the sea — this feels really horrific.||”|
In March 2016, they performed on the stage of Cologne's Lanxess Arena alongside major German literary and musical luminaries at the Lit.Cologne benefit festival for the Til Schweiger Foundation, which seeks to serve as a less bureaucratic means to quickly aid newly arrived refugees.
Counter Speech Tour
Between 27 April — 4 May 2016, Khebez Dawle and Leslie Clio headlined the Counter Speech Tour that visited six cities across Germany: Passau, Cologne, Münster, Freital, Wismar, and Flensburg. In specific cities, the tour featured special guest performers: Enno Bunger, Gleis 8, and Smudo (of the rap group Die Fantastischen Vier).
The purpose of the tour was to work as a friendly measure to counter racism and extreme-right ideologies that had taken root in some of these cities, and specifically in Freital.
The tour was sponsored by Facebook, and organised in partnership with, inter alia, Warner Music Group, the German brewer fritz-kola, the Bundesliga Foundation, and the Internet charity betterplace.org. The project at betterplace.org to support the tour managed to collect €5167 from 134 donations.
On 12 August 2016, Khebez Dawle performed at Detmolder Sommerbühne 2016, a summer stage event in Detmold, Germany. The performance was well-received, and after requests for more Arabic-language songs from the listening public, Khebez Dawle frontman and vocalist Anas Maghrebi emerged from the listening area to then support the four-person "Bukahara" group in their performance.
By 2017, Khebez Dawle have become firmly located in Berlin. As of January 2017, German-American journalist and filmmaker Emily Dische-Becker has been working on a documentary about the band's journey. In February, the band were reported to be working on a new album.
- Anas Maghrebi — lead vocals, guitar, percussion instruments
- Bachi Darwish — vocals, guitar
- Muhammad Bazz — bass
- Hekmat Qassar — keyboards, guitar
- Dani Shukri (formerly of Tanjaret Daghet) — drums
First Album: Khebez Dawle
Funded by the Arab Fund for Art and Culture and the Arab Culture Resource Khebez Dawle's self titled first album was released in August, 2015. Recording for the album started 1st May, 2014. The album follows the perspective of a young Syrian man who is experiencing various events throughout the Syrian war such as the Arab Spring. As states on Khebez Dawle's website, "this album tells the story from a humanitarian point of view, away from any polarizing political alignment".
- Larsson, Naomi (2015-12-16). "How one group of refugees turned their plight into a musical tour". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
- Collard, Rebecca (2016-02-05). "This Syrian band played its first European concert in a refugee camp. Now they're going on tour". PRI. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
- Topol, Sarah (2017-01-19). "Meet the Syrian Refugee Artists Who Are Transforming Modern Berlin". Travel + Leisure. Time Inc. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- "Khebez Dawle: The Road from Damascus". Music Extra. BBC World Service. 2017-09-30. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
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- "New life for Berlin Tempelhof Airport". Outlook. BBC World Service. 2016-03-29. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
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- Grzeszyk, Tabea (2016-03-23). "Nicht alles Gold glänzt" [Not Everything Shines Golden]. Kompressor (in German). Deutschlandradio Kultur. Retrieved 2017-04-06. Bashar [sic]: Aus seiner Perspektive ist es Kunst, eine Botschaft, dass etwas passiert. Aber für andere kann es ein Albtraum sein, die Rettungsweste wieder zu sehen. Ich habe es gehasst, dass Leute Selfies geschossen haben, es ist furchtbar, wenn man die Gefahr selbst erlebt hat. Die ganzen extravaganten Leute, die nur darauf gewartet haben, zu sprechen und von der Kamera gesehen zu werden — das war so lächerlich. • Bazz: Seit dem Konzert bis heute haben wir nicht darüber gesprochen. Weißt du, wenn du draußen wartest und Musik spielen willst und du siehst diese Leute in Rettungswesten und sie trinken Champagner und du weißt, dass diese Weste einmal dein Leben gerettet hat und du kennst diesen Trip und die Leute, die das Meer überqueren, das fühlt sich wirklich schräg an.
- Tenz, Courtney (2016-03-18). "Star-studded refugee benefit in Cologne focuses on the power of words". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
- "Künstler" [Artists] (in German). Counter Speech Tour. 2016. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- Enzensberger, Theresia (2016-05-24). "Eine Widerrede, bitte!" [A counterspeech, please!] (in German). Germany: Krautreporter. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- "Über die Tour" [About the Tour] (in German). Counter Speech Tour. 2016.
- "Partner" [Partners] (in German). Counter Speech Tour. 2016. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- "Counter Speech Tour - gegen Hassrede im Netz und auf der Straße" [Counter Speech Tour - against hate speech in Internet and in the streets]. Ein Hilfsprojekt von „Laut gegen Nazis“ [An aid project from "Laut Gegen Nazis" ["Loud Against the Nazis"]] (in German). betterplace.org. 2016-11-28. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- "Das war die Detmolder Sommerbühne 2016" [This was Detmolder Sommerbühne 2016] (in German). Sommerbühne Detmold. 2016. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
- "Auch zweites "Sommerbühnen"-Wochenende kommt gut an" [Also the second "Summerstage"-Weekend goes on well] (in German). Lippische Landes-Zeitung. 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2017-10-02.
- Stuessi, Brock (2017-02-04). "Day Eight: Kahbez Dawle [sic], Syria" (Warning: Contains 17 (seventeen) Flash and other embeds from YouTube, Vimeo, and Bandcamp on first load.). 30 Days : 30 Artists from Trump’s 7 Banned Countries. United States: WNUR-FM. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- Andersen, Janne Louise (2013-11-09). "Tanjaret Daghet, the Syrian rock band who are letting off steam in exile". United Arab Emirates: The National. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- Mazloum, Nadine (2016-04-09). "From rock to hip-hop, 5 of Syria's top music acts". Stepfeed. Retrieved 2017-04-06.
- "Album". khebezdawle.com. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
- Larsson, Naomi (2015-12-16). "How one group of refugees turned their plight into a musical tour". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
- "Album". khebezdawle.com. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
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