A new musical project from Beirut, a first EP just released. Safar Barlik remains quite mysterious with its electro beat and bittersweet melodies. The only thing we know about Safar Barlik is in this sentence: “With a longing for an idealised pre-war Beirut, Safar Barlik explores the feelings towards the city and its long lost Golden Age”, or in French: “Que de nostalgie pour un Beyrouth d’avant-guerre idealisé ; Safar Barlik explore les sentiments vis-à-vis de la ville et de son âge d’or longtemps perdu”.
Is your name inspired by the movie Safar Barlik with Fairuz, and if so why ?
The movie was made in the 1960s, a time when movies like those – epic and grandiose – could be made, which also could symbolise the prosperity of that time. I also feel that the story of “the exile” is still somewhat relevant to the situation of the Lebanese. Emigration and leaving Lebanon is not new to the exploited Lebanese, but when you experience it first hand, as more and more of your friends leave the country to find better jobs, or knowing their only aim is to leave Lebanon, you feel the impact on your life and the life of others. It also makes you question your belonging to that country, a country that by itself cannot provide for the many high expectations.
Could you tell us more about this video, it is shot like vintage movies but it is nowadays Beirut and Lebanon?
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Ever since we’ve had our first cars, the trip to the mountains was something that has always been part of being Lebanese. It is relevant to our current situation and relevant to our past. Some of the buildings filmed also have a significance to the past and present situation.
Are you nostalgic of Beirut’s golden age? How does this period influence your music ?
As many others, I do have a longing for a period I have not lived in. It seems like it was a better time, it does not necessarily mean it was, but when you look at the current post-civil war Lebanese situation, that past seemed like a much more habitable time. We had not exploited every inch of Beirut yet, people could actually walk from place to place. We had a train and a tram, downtown Beirut wasn’t just a piece of concrete put there as a tourist attraction. It seemed like it had more authenticity and cultural depth. I feel that by looking at the past, we also look at our present. The EP was made in some way to understand and to come to terms with it and to start looking to the future, a new different one… In short: to let go of the past and to move on. On a musical level, it is the the relation between past, present and future that inspires the music more than just the period itself.
Originally published on Mashallah News.