Camille Feghali pushes boundaries with fusion of electronica and Lebanese classical music
March 16th 2021
Redefining the boundaries of live performance and electronic music, Camille Feghali fuses the skills and instruments of classical Arabic music with experimental soundscapes to forge his own musical path. Feghali sat down with Joe Khan on Mornings for Citizens of Sound.
When you think of classical music who comes to mind? Mozart? Bach? Beethoven? What about Samir Soror or Abdel Halim Hafez? For Camille Feghali, these musicians are the epitome of classical music in the Arabic world.
“Lebanon is very westernised as a country. And I thought it’s a bit of a shame that all of the styles that are coming from the west is very popular and we don’t know anything about [Lebanese] music.”
Feghali says that his exploration of historical Arabic music has made him aware of how rich and complex Arabic history and culture is. He explains that it is a “real shame” the recognition of these artists and Arabic classical music as a form has been widely forgotten by modern Lebanese culture.
“Arabic music was very different than what it was after the 30s because that’s when the music industry got created, and that’s when artists were following what labels wanted and what was popular instead of labels following artists for the music they are doing.”
In an act of self-preservation of his culture and his history, Feghali has turned to these classical sounds in his own modern re-imagination of Arabic music, combining the driving beats of EDM and electronica with the stirring classical scales of traditional Lebanese music. “For me its a bit like language,” says Feghali.
“All those intervals you have between notes – it’s like a language, it’s like different letters. The fact that many people are using [the] 12-tone western system, like you have many melodies and many feelings that are disappearing with it as well, so I find it important to preserve it.”
Since moving to Australia from Lebanon, Feghali has found a community of multicultural musicians in Melbourne who have further enriched and supported the exploration of his sound. Fusing sounds from Greek, Balkan and Indian cultures and further pushing and experimenting with the boundaries of his own culture.
“I felt really happy that I met the right people.”