Beirut Connection: Former STEIM Artistic Directors Tarek Atoui and Mazen Kerbaj in The WIRE

2007 and 2008 Artistic co-directors Tarek Atoui and Mazen Kerbaj are featured in an article in this month’s The WIRE. Both artists were brought in through collaborations with former Director Michel Waisvisz.


clipping from the article Nov 2010

Mazen came with a whole new stream of young free improvisors including Sharif Sehnaoui, Raed Yassin Clare Cooper and Christine Sehnaoui. During his term, he recorded a handful of projects in our studios and organized several concerts. He has also inherited Waisivz’s Crackle Synth which he regularly tours with. Irtijal, the festival he organizes with Sharif and Raed, just celebrated their 10th anniversary in Beirut.

mazen&joel
one of the several posters that Mazen made for his concerts at STEIM

Kerbaj_Ryan
and the actual concert with Joel Ryan in December 2006

Tarek accelerated faster than any artist in recent years. He came to STEIM to further develop both his solo work and his children’s live cinema workshop called Empty Cans. Since then, he released his first album from Staalplaat Records, his new work Un-Drum has been featured at festivals around the world, has collaborated with major international educational institutions to conduct workshops and is more or less the star of electronic music in the Middle East.


Tarek’s new work, more aggressive and dynamic than ever

These two artist gave STEIM a whole new profile not only in the Middle East but also towards the international community of active artists. They revived an image for STEIM as being an open place and willing to have artists represent the institution based on the quality of work and not just on name value.

waisviszandsenoui
another important collaboration Michel Waisvisz and Christine Sehnaoui duo (2006-2007 )

Through my own collaborations with Tarek Atoui and Raed Yassin, I released my first album from the new Lebanese label Annihaya, and visited Beirut to perform in early 2010. It’s an amazing country with amazing artists that still manages to thrive in the midst of all the political turmoil and wars. The underground music and contemporary art scene is literarily built by a handful of dedicated people like these, and now there is a young generation coming up who have been attending these events through their formative years. And the food is amazing too!


The Annihaya label crew (from left to right): Omar Khouri, Raed Yassin, Hatem Imam

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