MAII AND ZEID
Egyptian singer Maii Waleed and Lebanese musician/producer Zeid Hamdan began making music together in 2010, after meeting in Maii’s hometown of Alexandria, Egypt. At the time, Maii was just beginning her musical career, while Zeid was already well established in Lebanon’s independent music scene, having started the band Soapkills with Yasmine Hamdan. But the two connected right away. “Maii is a beautiful and talented young singer and composer. When I met her, I didn’t know what would happen but wanted to try to build a story for sure,” Zeid told aishtiblog.com.
Their sound is influenced by Western bands of different genres — hints of American country can be heard in tracks like “Eswed Ramadi” and “Hasafer Baeed,” while other songs have a pop-y, electronic beat. It’s always all grounded by Maii’s sweet and steady voice, singing in Arabic, with a sound that’s something like Fairouz meets Natalie Imbruglia.
Although both have worked on other bands and solo projects, Maii and Zaid is special. As Maii put it: “[We’re] like soul mates on a fun mission.”
The distance between Beirut and Alexandria has been an obstacle to practicing, but that may soon change. “Living in separate territories doesn’t allow us to practice at all,” Maii told us. “We always meet the day of the concert.” Fortunately for audiences, for their upcoming gig today in Beirut they’ve been able to prepare for almost a week on set, along with musicians Marc Codsi and Anthony Abi Nader. Maii says she’s considering a move to Beirut, adding, “I’m sure we can express and produce much more.”
The Shoreline Sessions lineup also includes Omar Souleyman, Restless Leg Syndrome, and AK Soundsystem featuring Rami O. Tickets are available at Radio Beirut or presella.com, cost is $20 in advance or $25 at the door.