Lebanon’s DIY scene simply won’t quit. On Friday June 25 an informal new space opens, a gathering spot for electronic music even in challenging conditions.

The Beirut Synthesizer Center has been looking for a home all year, and they’ve found a spot for the summer. Bana Haffar is part of the small team making it work – along with co-founders Elyse Tabet, Ziad Moukarzel, and Hany Manja – and writes CDM with some details.

The kick-off event, the planners say, “will open with a short improvised set, followed by an introduction of the space and group discussion. We will end the night by inviting folks to explore the space, gear, and library.”

Beirut Synthesizer Center
an experiment in autonomous learning and sound practices

Opening Celebration
Friday, June 25th
Mar Mikhael, Nahr, Fouad Boutros St 

6-6:30 pm group improv
7-8 pm intro + discussion 
8-9 pm open space 

Synthesizer Center Open hours 

Monday 11-7pm 
Wednesday 11-7pm 

If you’re local and for some reason getting your Beirut event news from CDM, hope you can make it, say hi to folks, and let us know how it is! (And hope to find my way to your neighborhood one of these days!)

We’ll also get to have a conversation with the center hosted next month, thanks again to EXP_ and Your Mom’s Agency / Nadia Says – so stay tuned:

Beirut Synthesizer Center / online discussion, July 22 [Facebook event]

Working on the new location. All photos courtesy Bana Haffar.

Bana describes this as “an exciting and somewhat daunting venture given the current climate in Beirut/ Lebanon/ the region.” They’re not kidding – if you’ve followed news from Lebanon lately, you know that among other challenges, basic energy access and Internet have been limited. Bana tells us at this location they’re getting only about two to four hours of government-provided power a day, so the center has a 20 amp generator and voltage stabilizer.

Let the sun shine in.
Already stocked with reading materials – with a shout-out to Derek Holzer, Curtis Roads, and (on Max/MSP) Gregory Taylor.

These kinds of challenges do seem to be frequent here on planet Earth, though, so I hope we can both support our friends there and stay connected. So much of that connection over the pandemic has assumed reliable high-speed broadband and power, it seems that we all can learn to be more adaptable.

But more on that soon – meanwhile, all the best to Beirut tomorrow and keep the music coming.

More on the Center (as I write this, the site still says they’re looking for a location, but – they’ve been busy, as they found it!):

The Beirut Synthesizer Center is an informal co-op for electronic music enthusiasts, amateurs, musicians, artists, and researchers to exchange expertise, discover instruments, and collaborate on music/sound making. The space will host workshops, lectures from artists abroad, feedback sessions, small-scale performances, a library, and whatever else emerges from the collective.

We hope to build a space generous enough to support our respective practices as well as those of the community.

In the midst of the compounding, multi-faceted turmoil in Lebanon there has been a lack of governmental support for artists. Meeting and sharing resources is a strategy for holding us together and moving forward.

We need any kind of Center.

The main goal is to create a strong base for everyone to learn, share and collaborate as equals — with respect, care, and thoughtfulness. It is a physical space for creative nurture as much as it is a space to learn new technology, share work, and experience listening together.