Confessions of a Jetsetter™

Confessions of a Jetsetter w/ George Abi-Hanna

Travel for inspiration, such a beautiful phenomenon, to escape the mundanity of routine and inject one’s self with positive experiences from around the world. A voluntary timeless blood transfusion that delivers on many intangible levels. For musicians, that’s the never ending pilgrimage for musical influence, leading some to claim a home away from home. 

Growing up in Lebanon during turbulent times, travel was reactionary. Plucking families like dandelions seeking a safe haven away from political turmoil. That “somewhere” evolved into Brooklyn for me. A beautiful borough with raw character, sharing inspiration beyond its borders, which reminded me of Beirut.

Walking down either’s streets you get a sense of immense creative energy seeking an outlet. Graffiti covered walls incubating bands tucked away in packed alley bars. A comparable music scene in Lebanon giving Arabic rock and hip hop a platform where Arab artists can express themselves. A sense of sonic unity that Brooklyn taught me to appreciate. This journey for clarity has bought things full circle for me. 

Now I find inspiration in seeing the work of artists who make a decision to stay in Beirut shaping the cultural landscape amid political and religious restraints. I look forward to my yearly visits home where I get to collaborate with artists frustrated with this stagnation. 

My 2012 New Years was spent in Beirut with my brother and a close friend working on a stop motion music video…a collection of portraits taken at night while keeping still as the other 2/3 of our crew operated laser pointers between clicks. This was especially challenging in the hills of Aley, overlooking Beirut where temperatures hit crippling low levels. 

Location scouting was mostly improvisational and shot over three nights leading to New Year’s Eve. Our plan was to end up on a rooftop before midnight. There our grand finale would take place against the fireworks coming from downtown Beirut. One constant we’d look forward to yearly. Seems for a minute we forgot that our beloved city was bound by its quarreling government’s mood of the day. Improvisational skills were put to test when our eve turned out to be a firework-free one.

Watching the video now makes me smile as we managed to catch some last minute sparks coming from the neighboring buildings. A beautiful reminder of the city’s fighting spirit and how things worked out the night we brought the New Year to our own private light show. The product of this trying love relationship can be viewed here…

George Abi-Hanna // @cedar_soil


079/100 of #100DaysofConfessions Instagram Project