Two or the Dragon
Lebanese electro-acoustic noise duo created by Beirut-based musicians Abed Kobeissy and Ali Hout as an expression of their interest in urban sounds and Arabic music. Two or the Dragon tackle Arabic music’s capacity to express urban soundscapes, and its predisposition to express violence, as a local aesthetic in the region. This interest was sparked when Kobeissy and Hout began to compose music as a duo for contemporary dance and theater performances, as well as several film productions.
Hout and Kobeissy grew up in the Beirut of the 1990’s (universally described at the time as “the biggest construction site in the world”), a city that was and still is haunted by a crude aural landscape and the violent sound of heavy machinery destroying what was left of the city, and contributing in the collective obliviousness of post-war Lebanon. The duo’s main incentive is to allow this aural memory to find its way into their work as composers and performers.
Over the past years the duo was super active in composing and performing original music and sound scores for many contemporary dance and theater productions, and they were featured in various festivals in Europe, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Arab world. They performed as part of the official 2016 selection of the Avignon festival, presenting the contemporary dance performance “Leila’s Death” (Dir. Ali Chahrour, 2015).
Abed Kobeissy is a lecturer on the history and aesthetics of Arabic music at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. He has a Masters in Advanced Studies in musicology, and he collaborates as a writer and researcher with a number of specialized centers as well as online and print media. He also collaborates as a buzuq player with many musical projects.
Ali Hout has a Bachelor degree in acting and directing for theater, and now works as an instructor in various workshops and classes in Beirut. He also collaborates as a percussionist with a number of local bands, some alongside Abed Kobeissy on buzuq such as The Asil Ensemble for contemporary classical Arabic music.
Since August 2016, with support from Musikverket, Simsara has worked on connecting experimental, alternative and electronic music communities in Sweden and the Arab world, through an ever-expanding network of partners in both territories. This often meant exciting new work could be realised through artist-instigated collaborations, in this case a duo that has since performed at festivals in the region and beyond.