Saturday, April 01, 2006

Rouhana at Blue Note

One of the benefits of artists struggling in this country is that it allows you the privilege of hearing Charbel Rouhana's Oud every fortnight in a cozy little place.

I must say though that for a place that regularly hosts musical events, the acoustics at the Blue Note Cafe are horrendous. Their Hi Fi system has definitely outlived its usefulness. The table set up and the waiting staff is uniquely Lebanese, and so is the chatter noise level during the performance.

Personally, I prefer his performance of his own compositions to the classics he performs. His hit songs "Hi, Kifak, Ca Va" and "La Shou El Taghyeer" are original and catchy but it's a shame that they trigger the karaoke impulse in the crowd. "La Shou el Tashweesh?" I ask.


jij said...

I hear the place is a little too expensive for students though.

Hassan said...


I think the problem is that they charge something like 16,000 LL for entry. I just got March's pay :) I'm going to see Rouhana next week hopefully with some friends.

jij said...

Exactly 16,000 to get in then you have to buy something inside. too much.

JoseyWales said...

Like Jamal said, struggling Lebanese artist.

16,000 is a bargain. If he were not Lebanese, you'd have to go see him in Baalbeck or Beitedddine, with 3000 people and at mega prices.

Jamal said...

it is a 16,500 LL band charge + a minimum 30,000 Tab if you sit at a table. No Minimum Tab if you sit at the bar.
Still , for 30 bucks you get a full course dinner + plenty of drinks and you get to sit within 5-6 meters of the band. That's robbery.

Dima said...

I live abroad and I'm glad to hear the Blue Note is alive and well. When I come back in June with a couple of acquaintances from london who I will have to take out, places like this will be the top of my list. Plus Charbel Rouhana plays more authentic Lebanese music than most local talent.

Hopefully, if more foreigners start coming to our lovely country then places like Blue Note will flourish. Maybe some well-to-do music lovers in Beirut should pitch in and buy the old place a decent sound system and mixer eh?

Got any other hot tips? Is there a site where one can check out cultural activities going on in Beirut? I've heard rumours about TimeOut possibly launching a Beirut edition: that would be a relief from Agenda Culturelle which is way too focused on French culture I find.

Dima said...

One more thing:

It might be an idea if places like BN charge a slightly reduced entry fee upon presentation of a valid student ID card at the door?

JoseyWales said...

That's robbery.

Surely you jest Jamal, or if you are a "poor" student just sit at the bar. Unless you are French in which case you have a RIGHT to FREE entry, and FREE drinks on the French embassy tab, and cannot be kicked out of the bar without official notice.

But I digress.

How many "poor" students went to (worthless) Phil Collins last year, and how much did they pay? (plus gas plus parking etc)

Rouhana is a first-tier artist, and these prices seem very reasonable. How much do you pay for decent dinner w/out Rouhana?

Jamal said...

JW- you forgot the right to an ergonomically friendly bar stool :)

Dima- Time Out is indeed launching a beirut issue as I learned a couple of days ago. I think Kahwet El Ezaz in Gemmayze is a decent traditional lebanese night out. I'm not sure what nights they have live music though.

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Yeah Qahwet le'Ezâz rules!
And it's a real bargain: best price/quality ratio in town if you want my opinion.
The concerts are decent, but the Qahwet is more of a chill-out narghileh joint where you can spend some time reading, puffing, and sampling a few B+ mezzeh plates

hillz said...

sme3et lasho etteghyeer. however, i didn't hear "kifak ca va?". is it found on internet??

Jamal said...

hilal- it might be called "بالعربي"

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