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Yasmina Hatem

10 Questions for Beirut Jam Sessions

NOW talks to one of the co-founders about this musical initiative

The Wanton Bishops, a local Lebanese band, at a BJS event in December.
Pony Pony Run Run at the Warehouse with BJS in April.
An image showing the Beirut Jam Sessions, a musical concept that began one year ago.
We Were Evergreen spontaneously goes Acapella after the electricity suddenly turned off.
Emilie Gassin was the first act for Beirut Jam Sessions in June 2012.
Nadeah at the BJS concert in August.

NOW: What is Beirut Jam Sessions?

 

Beirut Jam Sessions: We are concert promoters who organize affordable concerts. We try to bring upcoming international indie acts to Lebanon while assuring proper exposure to local acts too.

 

NOW: How did you come up with this concept?

 

Beirut Jam Sessions: The idea had been developing in one of the founder’s mind for years. It wasn’t until a year ago, though, when the three of us realized how much we wanted our favorite bands to come to Beirut – so we decided to work together on making it happen.

 

NOW: How do you choose your bands?

 

Beirut Jam Sessions: We have to be fans of their music first. Then, it’s all a matter of signing the contract and getting the job done.

 

NOW: You mostly work with international talent – what do you think about the local indie music scene?

 

Beirut Jam Sessions: We do work with Lebanese artists. Our aim is to get local musicians more exposure in Lebanon, so we always have a local act opening for all of our concerts. We also give them broader exposure through their sessions with international acts that we publish on YouTube.

 

NOW: What is the ultimate goal of the Beirut Jam Sessions?

 

Beirut Jam Sessions: To own our own venue, have a festival, and bring the Beatles back to life.

 

NOW: What has been your favorite moment so far in this first year?

 

Beirut Jam Sessions: Every concert/session filming was a special moment. Emilie Gassin (our very first show) particularly stood out and she also turned out to be awesome. Every concert after hers was a surprise to us, as we were never sure how the audience would react.

 

That our shows kept selling out each time was even more surprising. And now we can hardly contain our excitement for our first anniversary, which we will be celebrating on June 18th with Swedish pop-rock sensation The Royal Concept. They will be sharing the stage with the Lebanese bands Postcards and Who Killed Bruce Lee.

 

NOW: Do you ever get discouraged?

 

Beirut Jam Sessions: It’s never easy working in Lebanon, is it?

 

NOW: How do you finance your events, bringing in the bands, etc.?

 

Beirut Jam Sessions: We try to get as many sponsors as possible. Hopefully, soon enough, we will be completely independent and cover our costs solely through ticket sales.

 

NOW: What is the "session" and why do it?

 

Beirut Jam Sessions: It’s what Beirut Jam Sessions was all about in the first place. Having foreign musicians jam with Lebanese bands in order to help the local acts.

 

NOW: Which one was your favorite and why?

 

Beirut Jam Sessions: You can’t ask us that, it's like choosing which one of your kids you love the most! Anyway, the three of us each have different preferences. One of us would say Rover singing "Lou," the other would say Emilie Gassin and Ramly performing "Elephant Gun," and the last would say We Were Evergreen and Maya Aghniadis performing "Second hand."

 

To stay tuned to Beirut Jam Sessions events, you can check out their Facebook Page here.

The Wanton Bishops, a local Lebanese band, at a BJS event in December (Beirut Jam Sessions Photo).

"The idea had been developing in one of the founder’s mind for years. It wasn't until a year ago, though, when the three of us realized how much we wanted our favorite bands to come to Beirut - so we decided to work together on making it happen."