Video of Lebanese protest turning into a dance party goes viral: DJ wants to change the way people see Tripoli

'I don't know how it happened,' says Madi Karimeh of the impromptu gig in Sahat El-Nour

A video of Madi Karimeh playing music to protesters in Tripoli went viral. Courtesy Madi Karimeh
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A video of Lebanese DJ Madi Karimeh playing to a crowd of thousands of protesters from a balcony in Tripoli on Saturday night has been shared by thousands of people, inside and outside of Lebanon.

"I don’t know how it happened," 29-year-old Karimeh says of the huge crowd chanting and dancing to his mix of music in a moment of happiness during a stressful time. "When I got on the mic, it was amazing."

"You know what the most beautiful thing is? I was able to change the way people think of Tripoli," he says of the video of people enjoying the music going global.

"People only associate Tripoli with the fighting of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen," but for him, Tripoli is more than that, it is "just amazing".

The now-viral video of Karimeh playing in Tripoli on Saturday night:

How he ended up playing in the middle of a protest

On Saturday night, when Karimeh, who has a good following from within the community in Tripoli, joined the thousands of protesters who have been calling for the government to step down since Thursday, he wasn't prepared for what happened next.

"People were seriously asking me to go up and play, but I didn't have my equipment on me. You need your equipment, the speakers... I didn't have any of that. But then I told my friends 'are we going to do this?' They said, 'let's do it'".

Within an hour, Karimeh was ready to go. He set up on the balcony of one of the residential buildings facing Tripoli's Sahat El-Nour, which has witnessed massive protests for the past three days. "Luckily, the neighbours in the building knew my father and so they let me set up and at 6:15 pm, I was playing."

Karimeh's instagram has since then exploded.

"I swear people were telling me if the roads weren't closed from Beirut they would come to Tripoli tonight.”

There is no doubt that Karimeh is proud that in the midst of all that his country is witnessing, he is taking part - even if it is through music.

"Music is all about connection," he says.

The party is nowhere near over for the young music producer. He is getting ready for round two tonight. "Today, I will be at Sahet El-Nour," adding that he will play the "best mix up, a revolutionary set".

However, fun and games aside, Karimeh knows why he's on the streets. He also wants reform. "I will tell you this but you might laugh, I want someone like me to be in power. Someone who loves life," he says. "A person [who is] ambitious like me."