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Yasmine Hamdan has a new album out and is appearing in a film by Jim Jarmusch. Get on her bandwagon while there's room.
Born in Beirut in 1976, Yasmine Hamdan has been making music since the late-1990s, when she and a friend, Zeid Hamdan (no relation), formed the band Soapkills. The project was an experiment in merging classical Arabic music and electronica. Their music gained popularity amidst the young arts scene that emerged after the Lebanese Civil War.
Then she moved to Paris, where she teamed up with Mirwais, a member of Taxi Girl who produced and co-wrote two albums with Madonna. They performed as Y.A.S. and released an album, "Arabology," in 2009.
Hamdan struck out on her own after that. And it looks like she's ready to blow up.
On March 25, she released her new solo album, "Ya Nass" which means "Oh People" in Arabic. "She is singing at the intersection of sexy electronica and iconic Arab tradition," NPR described it, "fed in equal parts by PJ Harvey and the legendary Syrian-Egyptian vocalist Asmahan."
It's intoxicating. If you don't speak Arabic you won't understand the lyrics, and it won't matter.
Just settle down, put on some high-def headphones, and enjoy a 46-minute trance.
You can also listen to the album on NPR. And here's the video for the lead single, "Deny."