Guests

BABYLON TRIO

The three Iraqi musicians of Babylon Trio arrived in Belgium in 2015 as refugees of this political and social unrest. Arkan Mushtak is the composer and pinnacle of the band. Like the other members he hails from Baghdad, where from a young age onwards he has been shaped into a talented keyboard and piano player by Iraqi master composer Noor Sabah. He is accompanied by fellow musicians Saif Al-Qaissy (digital percussion, djarbouka and backing vocals) and singer Walaa Saad (vocals) and occasionally joined by Mohammed Algareb (guest percussion). They established themselves as musicians in Belgium, mostly playing to the diaspora community of Iraqi’s, Syrians and other Arab expats. For Arkan Mushtak this started with the music project Sijsele Refugee All Stars in the area of Bruges, aided by local cultural organisations. From there Arkan joined the Cinemaximiliaan project, an interdisciplinary cultural organisation in Brussels that brings refugees and locals with different backgrounds together. In this project Arkan again met Walaa Saad and Saif Al-Qiassy who already knew each other from Baghdad. Besides this, Saif is percussionist of international Brussels Iraqi folk fusion band Nawaris, led by fellow Iraqi musician Hussein Rassim together with musicians Nicolas Hauzeur, Juliette Lacroix and Manuel Hermia. One night in December 2016 at an Iraqi cultural evening in the NGHE Mediatheque in the Sint-Jans-Molenbeek borough of Brussels created the idea of the Babylon Trio band. Babylon Trio plays an electrified mix of contemporary Iraqi and Arabic music styles, such as choubi choubi, dabke, maqam and electronic hybrids that put the dancefloor on fire. The trio's debut album “Habibi” features songs about their old life in Iraq and new life in Brussels, Belgium, with topics such as separation from loved ones, love, beauty, honour and pure Arabic party bangers. This year will mark the power of the contemporary Iraqi street sound of Babylon Trio throughout Europe and beyond. Get ready for fire!

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