"If you think you know what Middle Eastern music sounds like, think again — because Beirut-born electro-pop singer Yasmine Hamdan is positioning herself in an incredibly interesting place. She's singing at the intersection of sexy electronica and iconic Arab tradition, fed in equal parts by PJ Harvey and the legendary Syrian-Egyptian vocalist Asmahan." – NPR
“Yasmine Hamdan is considered a trailblazer for the masterful way she’s modernized Arabic pop music by combining Arabic vocals with contemporary Western styles. Songs like “Douss,” off her latest album, demonstrate her willingness to expand that amalgamation to Western indie folk.” – Utne Reader
Hailed as ‘Arabic music’s modern voice’ (New York Times), Lebanese singer-songwriter Yasmine Hamdan first emerged onto the music scene with Soapkills, the pioneering indie electronic band to come out of the Middle East, a duo she founded along with Zeid Hamdan in Beirut in the mid-’90s. The band gradually acquired an emblematic status and, to this day, Yasmine is considered an underground icon throughout the Arab world. Later moving to Paris, Yasmine teamed up with Madonna’s producer Mirwais, and under the Y.A.S. moniker, recorded the album Arabology, released in 2009 by Universal France. In 2012, Yasmine joined forces with Nouvelle Vague’s Marc Collin to produce her debut solo album, ‘Ya Nass’, released by Crammed Discs in Europe in May 2013 and in Japan and the USA last April. One of the album’s tracks, ‘Hal’ was featured in Jim Jarmusch’s latest film ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ and is a contender for the 2014 Oscar Award for Best Original Song.
‘Ya Nass’ has received wide critical acclaim across Europe, North America and the Arab region, with major media outlets including BBC World News, Arte, ZDF, France 24, NPR, KCRW, France Inter, Le Figaro, Le Monde, The Guardian, The Herald Tribune, UK Metro, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Al Hayat and Al Arabiya praising her work. She has been a guest on British television’s top live music show ‘Later... with Jools Holland’ on the BBC, and on NPR’s popular American music show, Tiny Desk Concerts. ‘Ya Nass’ also made it onto the NPR list of Best World Music Albums for 2014 and the song ‘Deny’ from the album was featured on NPR’s Favourite Songs of 2014 list. A seasoned performer, Yasmine has appeared on stages around the world, including the Sydney Opera House (Australia), Byblos Music Festival (Lebanon), Olympia (France), Trianon (France), Music Hall (Beirut), Carthage Museum Esplanade (Tunis), Les Francofolies de Montreal (Montreal), Meltdown Festival, Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), Glastonbury Festival (UK), Royal Albert Hall (London) Haus Der Kulturen der Wel (Berlin), Woomex (Berlin), Qasr El Nil (Cairo) Sziget Festival (Budapest), Roundhouse (London), Gaite Lyrique, Festival Iles de France (Paris), Akbank Festival (Istanbul) and Kyoto Music Exposition Festival (Kyoto).
Over the last 12 years, beyond releasing albums and performing across the globe, Yasmine has composed film scores and developed several artistic projects, including an original piece for the TED video, ‘The Power of X’. She has collaborated with movie directors such as Elia Suleiman, Ghassan Salhab, Khalil Joreige, Joana Hadjithomas, Faouzi Bensaidi, and Danielle Arbid. In 2013, she wrote the music for the play ‘Ritual for a Metamorphosis’ by Saadallah Wannous, presented at the Comedie Francaise. Her music also appeared in the performance “Valerie Belin & I Could Never Be a Dancer”, at Centre Pompidou, Paris.
In the summer of 2014, Yasmine was honored with the ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’ by the French Minister of Culture. Today, Yasmine is the only Arab vocalist singing in Arabic on stage for audiences worldwide from Tokyo to the USA. As such, she actively contributes to the promotion of Arabic culture and is a strong advocate of its dynamism and richness.