Lebanese singer-songwriter Yasmine Hamdan is one of the most groundbreaking musicians in the Middle East — thanks in part to her work in the electronic indie band Soapkills — though she's now based in Paris. Also an actress in Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive, Hamdan possesses an allure unlike any performer I've seen, and it comes through clearly in this Tiny Desk Concert. Her singing is both casual and provocative, framed by provocative and commanding movements.
These three songs are stripped-down versions of pieces from Hamdan's current album, Ya Nass. Amazingly, these hypnotic arrangements came together mere moments before her Tiny Desk Concert. Hamdan had only just met Gabriel Gordon when they traveled down together from New York that morning. They're unrehearsed, and yet locked into a sound that's calm, cool and universal.
Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Olivia Merrion; photo by Jim Tuttle/NPR