Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 November 2020

'Bint Zghiri': Lebanese musicians in Dubai unite to create anthem of 'hope' for Beirut

The song aims to send an uplifting message to the country's youth

'Bint Zghiri' (Little Girl) is a tribute to Lebanon's youth and aims to be an anthem of hope through its troubled and uncertain present. Layal Halabi          
'Bint Zghiri' (Little Girl) is a tribute to Lebanon's youth and aims to be an anthem of hope through its troubled and uncertain present. Layal Halabi          

A group of Lebanese musicians living in Dubai have come together to write a song dedicated to Beirut.

Entitled Bint Zghiri (Little Girl), the song – that features DD Foxx, Angi, Rita Mikhael and Joe Koueik – aims to be an anthem of hope as Lebanon faces challenging times.

“The idea for the song only started last week,” says Layal Halabi, who is better known by her musical moniker, DD Foxx. “At first, I was not thinking about writing a song for Lebanon. We were only thinking about how to help with donations and with fund-raising efforts and initiatives. We’re still doing fund-raising.”

Last month’s explosions in Beirut sent shock waves throughout the world. People have been rallying to help those affected by the blasts, and a number of initiatives have been set up to send aid to the city.

For many people living in Lebanon – a country that has endured an economic crisis due to years of government corruption – the incident was the final straw and a signal that things need to change. But confidence in the future still remains low.

“After what happened it has been difficult for people to be positive,” Halabi says. “Many have lost hope. We wanted the song to be a small message of encouragement. To give hope in the future and show that things will be OK.”

As the song begins with a melancholic piano lilt and the sound of violins, an accompanying video shows the devastating effects of the blasts.

The video uses footage taken by Lebanese filmmakers Elie Fahed and Jhony Azeir.

“A little girl dreams to hope, she blows out the candle and draws her dreams,” Halabi sings in Arabic, before Angi continues: “Fire and terror kidnapped time. The dream is gone and hope is lost.”

Halabi says her family helped with the song. Her father, Bassem, wrote the lyrics and her sister, Dana, edited the video.

“I write lyrics in English. I’ve never written lyrics in Arabic,” Halabi says. “I called up my dad and explained what we wanted to say with the song and he wrote the lyrics.”

Later in the piece, Koueik sings: “Darkness came and covered everyone. No, don’t be scared, little one.”

Then Mikhael takes over with: “We’re all going to stand with you to rebuild and restore the dream. We’re all going to be with you until the unjust leave.” The four musicians conclude the song with “Lebanon is ours and yours.”

Halabi says the song is the first time she has publicly sung in Arabic. “I was a little bit worried at first, but I was not too concerned with how I was going to be judged on my voice,” she says. “My concern was to just project a message. I think it came out OK in the end. I did my best.”

Dubai-based Lebanese musician Layal Halabi at Beirut's Mar Mikhael. The area, which is famous for its stunning architecture, has been heavily damaged from last month's blast. Layal Halabi
Dubai-based Lebanese musician Layal Halabi at Beirut's Mar Mikhael. The area, which is famous for its stunning architecture, has been heavily damaged from last month's blast. Layal Halabi

Halabi had not met the other musicians before. After being connected through a mutual friend, they met for the first time on the day of the recording.

“They are all lovely and humble and have beautiful voices,” Halabi says of her collaborators.

The music video accompanying Bint Zghiri has already raked in tens of thousands of views on Instagram.

“I’m glad it’s being shared,” Halabi says. “Because it means its message of hope is getting across.”

Updated: September 2, 2020 06:25 PM

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