In a Lebanon entangled in crisis and still reeling from the shock of the Beirut port disaster, the Beirut Jam Session, an artistic initiative that manages year after year to give visibility and income to local, regional and international artists, are holding on to their lifelong goal: to make culture and music shine in the eyes of all and in any situation.
Struck by an unprecedented economic, political and social crisis, and still shaken by the shock of the explosion of the port of Beirut, Lebanon is not living its best days. Yet, if there is one constant in beauty, appeasement, and harmony, it is the Beirut Jam Sessions.
A collective founded in 2012 to organize concerts and other small musical sessions, its initial goal was to fill the gap between the mega concerts of pop stars, and the tiny ones organized in bars by independent artists.
These filmed sessions, new to the region, bring together local and international artists from Jordan and France, such as this video released in December 2020 in which Ibrahim Maalouf and François Delporte play together.
Culture against the world
The crisis is never conducive to the development of the artistic scene, which obviously suffers from a lack of means and ever more precariousness. But with the pandemic, it was necessary to review certain models, because it was no longer possible to play in public.
No more tickets sold, no more sponsors, so the organizers turn, as everywhere, to digital. A festival on Instagram then brings together 160 artists from 25 countries for 9 weeks, with headliners like Yasmine Hamdan, Yo-Yo Ma, or Cat Clyde, all under the hashtag #BJSINSTAFEST. All the videos are still available on the website of the collective for those who want to listen to the lives again.
As if that wasn’t enough
Later, it is the turn of the explosion of the port of Beirut to shake all the landmarks. Most of the venues were damaged, so during the reconstruction, the organizers created the Tiny Gigs, “semi-private” concerts, organized in new spots. Limited to 30 spectators and paid “by the hat”, they aim at allowing the artists to survive in these difficult times. Some are even organized on Zoom, and are very well received. Everything is done so that culture does not have to suffer from the critical situation in which the country finds itself.
Thus, despite the current difficulties in Lebanon, the Beirut Jam Sessions continue to offer an oasis of creativity, harmony and beauty, as well as an unfailing support to the artists, whose situation is more precarious than ever. A refreshing initiative that we advise you to go and see and listen without moderation!