Arabic Language Blog

Meet Mashrou3 Leila Posted by on Jan 30, 2013 in Arabic Language, Culture

Marhaba (مرحبا)! In this post, I want to introduce you all to one of my favorite Middle Eastern bands: Mashrou3 Leila (مشروع ليلى). By all means, this band is one of the most innovative and upcoming groups in the Middle East and with their progressive and enlightening music they have captured the hearts and minds of thousands of fans in the Levant and beyond. At the end of this post, I have added one of my favorite songs titled “Fasateen”(فساتين) in form of a YouTube video. This song was featured on their first album called Mashrou3 Leila which was released in 2010. The video also contains the lyrics in Arabic. I have also added the lyrics of the song in Arabic with translation in this post, so that you can follow with the song

By all means, their music is unique and frequently echoes a blend of meaningful lyrics with some oriental twist. The band’s name refers to their music as one of experimentation given that ‘mashrou3’ means project and ‘leila’ which can signify an Arabic female name also means one night, thus ‘mashrou3 leila’ is ‘the project of one night’ which is what it actually started as.


As taken from their own website, Mashrou3 Leila began as a music project at the American University of Beirut (الجامعة الاميركية في بيروت) – one of the oldest American universities in the Middle East- in 2008. Following the birth of this group by Haig Papazian, Carl Gerges, Hamed Sinno, Omaya Malaeb, Andre Chedid, Firas Abou Fakher and Ibrahim Badr, these young musical virtuosos went on to experiment with their music by producing bizarre tunes that capture the complexity of the cultural traditions and customs of people residing in Lebanon and the greater Middle East. The combination of a microphone, a bass, a violin, two guitars, drums and keyboards are the essential tools employed by this group to produce their musical masterpieces.


This small and seemingly unexpected musical project that began at the American University of Beirut has taken a successful route of its own and has matured into a serious musical experimental endeavor. They have performed at several venues around Beirut, and at venues that stretch all the way from Northern to Southern Lebanon. Their musical virtuosity (ابداع) and success (نجاح) could not be tamed or constrained for long within Lebanon’s boundaries. Following the outpouring support of fans in Lebanon, many fans in the region began to learn of Mashrou3 Leila and wanted to gain access to this portal of musical experimentation and mystification. As a result, the band was invited to perform at prominent international music festivals like the Doha Tribeca International Film Festival in Qatar and Vodafone Big Day Out in the United Arab Emirates. They have also performed in Jordan, Egypt and Serbia.


Mashrou3 Leila is indeed a band that has produced revolutionary music that will stand the test of time and will constantly and unequivocally capture and portray tales of complexity, hardships, beauty, grievances, love, art and culture of people living in the Middle East. With their music, they have managed to capture the social and political struggles that are facing the growing agitated youth in Lebanon and the Arab world in general.



(Dresses- in this case a reference to a wedding dress)

بتتذكري لما قلتيلي

Do you remember when you told me
انك راح تتزوجني

That you will marry me

بلا فلوس وبلا بيت

even With no money and no house
بتتذكري كنتي تحبيني

Remember, you used to love me
مع انني مش دخله دينك

Even though I was not from your religious sect
بتتزكري كيف كنا هيك

Do you remember how we were?
بتتزكري لما امك

Do you remember when your mother
شفتني نايم بتختك

Saw me lying in your bed
قالتلي انسى عنك

Told me to forget you
و اتفقنا نضلنا هيك

And we decided to stay this way
بلا أدوار و طنطنات

Without assuming roles and other stupid stuff
بلا كرفات و صبحيات

Without a tie and morning coffee gossip
بلا ملايين

Without millions (reference to money)
بلا فساتين

Without dresses

مسكتيلي ايدي و وعدتيني بشي ثورة

You held my hand and promised me a revolution
كيف نسيتي كيف نسيتيني

How did you forget, how did you forget me!
ومشطيلي شعري

And you combed my hair
وبعتيني عالدوام

And sent me to my shift
كيف بتمشط مشطيني

You could you comb, comb me my hair)

بتتذكري لما قلتيلي انك نوي تتركيني

Remember when you told me, that you are planning to leave me
بلا فلوس و بلا بيت

With no money and no home…

Stay tuned for more posts very soon!

Have a great day!

نهاركم سعيد

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About the Author: jesa

Salam everyone! Born as an American to two originally Arab parents, I have been raised and have spent most of my life in Beirut, Lebanon. I have lived my good times and my bad times in Beirut. I was but a young child when I had to learn to share my toys and food with others as we hid from bombs and fighting during the Lebanese Civil War. I feel my connection to Arabic as both a language and culture is severing and so it is with you, my readers and fellow Arabic lovers, and through you that I wish to reestablish this connection by creating one for you.