‘She sang the story of a Lebanon that never really existed and essentially helped build the identity of Lebanon, just 14 years after it became an independent country’ - the Guardian

When looking at her music, the Arabic letters do not represent a sound or a concept to me, all I can understand is their shape. After learning what this song embodies to the people of Lebanon, how it is engraved in and adding to their history. More than a literal translation of words could say. Taking the shapes of the song ‘Li Beirut’ an animated video present the lyrics as a breathing construction of shapes.

‘Li Beirut is a song about a place that only exists in the imagination of a generation that feels bereft after decades of hard changes that transformed the face and the essence of a city, that still inspires despite its ugly reality. A proof that charm can lie in concealed stories, perception of the vague and imaginary in melancholy and it’s in infinite sadness. An odd ode to the disappeared that somehow, strangely, is still there.’

Interview with Rani, 2019, Beirut Lebanon

© 2020 by Marie Panken.  All rights reserved.