As Lebanon experiences one of the worst crises in its history with over half of its population living below the poverty line, unemployment running rampant among its youth, and economic disasters exasperated by the COVID-19 global pandemic, a group of artists have come together to raise awareness and funds for their beloved homeland. Musica Sawa, or “Music Together”, is run by a group of volunteers based in Paris and Beirut who have cultivated the best of the Lebanese independent musical scene for this year’s virtual music festival, which ran from June 20th to July 22nd.
Forty artists were asked to submit videos for the festival — mostly shot during the COVID-19 lockdowns between April and June — and Musica Sawa featured one performance a day on its Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube channels. Veteran Lebanese artists along with fresh, new faces to the independent scene captured their artistic explorations and donated their performances in music, dance, and spoken word to the online platform. Musica Sawa’s primary goal was to raise funds for Lebanese NGOs in desperate need of funding, along with creating a virtual stage to bring awareness to the burgeoning music and arts scene by Lebanese artists in Lebanon and abroad.
Universal Music MENA partnered with the charity platform as well, bringing with them artists such as Rima Yussef, Léa Makhoul, Hadi, Angi Shaya, and Danny Aridi. Several prominent Lebanese figures, like Dana Harouni and Shourouk Rhaiem, lent their support via videos as well. Donations closed on July 31st, however, all of the performances are still available to watch here.
Proceeds raised by the festival were given to benefit NGOs that aim to help Lebanon’s most vulnerable: Beit el Baraka, an organization devoted to providing food and agricultural lands to the country’s retired population, and The School of St. Vincent de Paul, an institution responsible for the education of 550 underprivileged students from Kindergarten to middle school. The festival was able to raise 49,000 Euros.