Just as the promise of Spring teases Berlin, the world goes into lockdown. Like many international travelers, Yemeni-American artist Ibi Ibrahim, singer and songwriter of the band Kabreet can’t return to Sana’a where he lives and works. The lockdown leads to an unexpected creative awakening with his Berlin based producer and band partner Hanno Stecher. Kabreet has been an insider in the underground Arabic music scene for years and now resumes their musical collaboration at a time when the city is finally warming up with the first rays of sunshine, while all over the country the dictates of social distancing are in full effect.

The result is a set of new tracks with a strong electronic touch, inspired by the spirit of eighties and early nineties pop, created within the framework of what Kabreet now call their “Spring Sessions”. In July, they released “Ana Mashi“, the first single from this new body of work and the first release in over three years. Painting “a vivid picture of loneliness in the days of social-distancing”, as the Cairo-based Arabic music platform Scene Noise put it, the track and accompanying video marked the reunion of the band and a continuation of their approach to merge music styles and cultures in a both elegant, fragile and innovative way.

outtakes from Kabreet’s Music video ‘Film Faransi

The second single “Film Faransi”, continues this signature sound with a melancholic nod to romance in French cinema and the British soul vibe of the eighties. The accompanying music video, written and directed by Iraqi-Canadian director Hala Alsalman?, picks up on the elegant, cinematic sound of the song. She teamed up with rising Iraqi actress Zahraa Ghandour? (The Journey, Baghdad in my Shadow) and Iraqi-American cinematographer Tarek Turkey while they were stranded in Istanbul. The video’s narrative plays on desire and remorse, longing and escape, and ultimately, transformation – giving the song a new dramatic dimension. With the release of this music video, Kabreet continues their effort to inspire a growing audience in a time of increasing anxiety with their soothing aesthetics.