As part of our continued relationship with HCMF – Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, this year’s online edition of Hcmf will feature a talk between Sharif Sehnaoui, Rabih Beaini, Rénata Sabella, and Fadi Tabbal, followed by live performances from Aya Metwalli and Anthony Sahyoun.

This Friday 20th November, 3.15pm UK time. All proceeds to be donated to Tunefork Studios’ Musicians Relief Fund.

Building on hcmf//’s relationship with Irtijal, Beirut’s foremost experimental music festival, this discussion has been curated by festival founder Sharif Sehnaoui, and brings together a range of musicians working in the region’s iconic underground. A musician and engineer, Fadi Tabbal recently founded the Beirut Musician’s Fund, responding to the urgent need for support amongst the Lebanese artistic community in the wake of the recent Beirut explosion. A concert organizer at Frequent Defect, Renata Sabella was recently forced to stop their activity due to recent events, becoming ‘the last to stop and the first to start back up’, drawing both criticism and praise in the process. Alongside his experimental music, Rabih Beaini manages Morphine Records, and has thrown himself behind several fundraising efforts in support of Lebanon.

This roundtable is followed by a showcase of the Lebanese experimental scene, with performances from two local pioneers. Egyptian genre-hopper Aya Metwalli’s recent work has embodied her interest in marrying noise and melody into a new wave of avant-pop, celebrating both the tradition of popular music and a rebellion against it. A composer and improviser known throughout the Lebanese underground scene, Anthony Sahyoun’s recent work includes First Seconds Last Forever, a collaboration with sound artist Jawad Nawfal that echoes the ‘lively and evolving’ Beirut neighbourhood of Gemmayze through recorded and constructed noise.

About Unbound Listening

In a new online series, hcmf// and the British Council join forces to present three events telling stories from across the world of new music. Focusing on the global challenges currently facing cultural communities and organisations, you will hear examples of how artists and cultural leaders are responding positively to the situation through their work. The emphasis will be on sharing experiences, collective thinking, and how we may work together collaboratively across borders to create new opportunities for the cultural sector.

Our speakers will be drawn from new music communities across the globe. They will share perspectives from their local musical scene as we look towards the future, in an opportunity to get to know new artists and music. Each event will combine listening, learning and conversation, culminating in a performance, commissioned audio-visual piece or podcast.

Unbound Listening is the latest partnership between the British Council and hcmf//. It builds on a long-term relationship that has enabled international new music producers and programmers to attend the annual festival and forge connections with the UK contemporary music sector. Responding to the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, this year we continue the spirit of connection building by welcoming international voices digitally. Unbound Listening offers a window onto new music in different parts of the world, opening up conversations and complementing the festival’s showcase of new UK music.

At hcmf// 2020, we’re thrilled to be presenting the first event in the Unbound Listening series. Look out for two more events in early 2021.

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