American cellist Yo-Yo Ma collaborated with Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila, and Iraqi rapper Narcy for a one-of-a-kind project! A rapper, a cellist, and an electro-pop band? Seems like an odd mix, and that’s what makes this a truly unique mix. Together they created Ha’oud (I Will Return), the lead single from Yo-Yo Ma’s album Notes For the Future, to be out on September 10th.
The album’s main theme revolves around feeling isolated and homesick, and the collaboration follows in the same manner. Yo-Yo Ma blends his tunes with the band’s lead singer’s (Hamed Sinno) emotional Arabic voice, and an Arabic and English verse by Narcy. The song discusses being far away from home and dislocation, along with all the emotional turmoil that comes along with it, and Narcy’s verse reflects on the loneliness this generation feels, and their experiences.
Take a listen!
Narcy recalls being sent a demo version recorded by Mashrou’ Leila and recording his verse in it while at Los Angeles. He told The National, “The experience of recording this song was as disjointed as displacement is. We all did our parts separately.”
“It is one of the biggest honors for me to be able to work with someone like Yo-Yo,” Narcy said. “Not only that, but also my friends Mashrou’ Leila, who have become my musical family and artists that I stand side by side with, in the independent music game. For all of us to work with a legend like Yo-Yo is unprecedented.”
Yo-Yo Ma’s visit to Lebanon
Yo-Yo Ma on the other hand, visited Beirut while working on the project in 2019. He performed several times in a single day and held a free concert at Qasas Neighbourhood Park!