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Beirut Blast Documentary Wins International Awards: Fadia Ahmad’s “Beirut, the Aftermath” Continues International Festival Run




Lebanese Spanish photographer and director Fadia Ahmad continues an ongoing search for home in her latest film, “Beirut, the Aftermath”. A long standing member of the Lebanese art scene, recently through World Art Collector, where she participated as a judge for the organization’s Incubator initiative, Ahmad’s latest project draws inspiration from her city and its many recent struggles. Raised across the sea from her native Lebanon, Ahmad longed as a child to return to the country that had pushed her and her family away. In 2003, she did exactly that, returning to begin her most widely recognized series “Beyrouth | Beirut” as a means to answer a critical question that followed her: Where do I belong?

Shot along her daily walk through the historic Mar Mikhael and Gemmayze neighborhoods towards the Downtown and Ain Mreisse districts of Beirut, “Beyrouth | Beirut” chronicles what it really means to rediscover one’s own home. While inadvertently reconciling with a missing piece of her own identity, one lost to exile and war, Ahmad captures a dynamic portrait of a city beset with both tremendous beauty and unfading scars.

This very same corner of the city became the epicenter of unspeakable tragedy last year in August, when a warehouse explosion in the Port of Beirut sent shockwaves into the city, killing hundreds, wounding thousands, and leveling many of the historic facades Ahmad had come to know on her daily path. The questions that brought her to produce her first breakaway series “Beyrouth | Beirut” led her to pick up her camera once again, this time to create her first ever film “Beirut, the Aftermath”. A testimony to both the strength of the survivors as well as the continued injustice suffered at the hands of the corrupt regime responsible, the short documentary film stands out for taking an unwavering stand to resist erasure. First time director Ahmad masterfully captures the ethos of a city routinely threatened with destruction, yet somehow never ceasing to find new ways to rebuild and heal.

“Beirut, the Aftermath” has already received recognition at a number of International Film Festivals this season, including the recent Lebanese Film Festival in Canada- Montreal, where the film won 2nd place in the short films category. Earlier this year, Ahmad received recognition from the Argenteuil Film Festival in France, winning best feature documentary during the July edition. The Argenteuil Film Festival announces official selections and awards every month, with the prizewinners convening each year for the festival’s annual ceremony to compete once more for higher honors. This season’s annual ceremony will take place on May 22nd, 2022.

In August “Beirut, the Aftermath” was awarded Best Half-Length Film at the Five Continents International Film Festival. Ahmad herself won Best Female Director for a feature film. In addition to these awards, the film won Best Poster for Wafic Dabbous’s design and received special mention for Feature Film Production.

Still ahead lies a number of other high profile festivals, including the Rabat International Author Film Festival in Morocco, with its 26th edition currently scheduled for December 15th-23rd. Organizers for the event believe the festival allows cinema to function as “another country on the map”, presenting cinema as an effective ‘nonplace’ wherein all people can be imagined as citizens, while simultaneously inviting audiences to expand both their awareness and imagination. This expressed purpose makes Ahmad’s film the perfect addition to the festival’s ethos. “Beirut, the Aftermath” will compete in the Short Film category this December.

Additionally, the film will be presented from November 30th to January 9th at the Peoria Riverfront Museum and Scottish Rite theater as part of a benefit supporting recovery efforts through the Lebanese American University Medical Centers. There will also be a concert at the event by accomplished pianist Dr. Tony Karam. In tandem with the showing, the Peoria Museum will feature a solo exhibit showcasing a photography series by Ahmad released as a companion to “Beirut, the Aftermath”, highlighting through pictures the major themes of her documentary.

In an era of profound change, Ahmad’s life spent in exile, her pursuit of meaningful return, and her reconciliation with complicated roots prove relevant to a global audience. A must see feature for anyone interested in universal themes of heritage, loss, and remembrance, Fadia Ahmad’s “Beirut, the Aftermath” continues to win well earned recognition as the festival season carries on.

From television to the internet platform, Jonathan switched his journey in digital media with Bigtime Daily. He served as a journalist for popular news channels and currently contributes his experience for Bigtime Daily by writing about the tech domain.

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Discovering The Influence of Jazz and Soul in Hip-Hop Sampling




Hip-hop music has taken over the world since its ascension from the streets of the Bronx in New York City. Characterized by its unique blend of poetry, rhythm, and beats, hip-hop has produced some of the world’s most iconic musicians and songs. One of the hallmarks of hip-hop music is its creative sampling techniques, which involves using snippets of music from old records to recreate new sounds. But where do these samples come from? And what has been the major influence behind hip-hop sampling?

The answer is jazz and soul music. In this blog post, we’ll put jazz and soul music under the microscope as expert Benjy Grinberg explores how these genres have influenced hip-hop sampling.

Jazz Music Influence On Hip-Hop Sampling

Jazz music was a major inspiration behind the early days of hip-hop music. Jazz music was all about improvisation and freestyling, which is very much in the DNA of hip-hop. In the early days of hip-hop, DJs often looped beats from jazz records to create breakbeats, which became the building blocks of early hip-hop music. One of the most sampled jazz artists in hip-hop is none other than the legendary saxophonist John Coltrane. Coltrane’s music has been sampled in countless hip-hop songs, and his influence can be felt in the music of many hip-hop icons, including Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, and Kendrick Lamar.

Soul Music Influence On Hip-Hop Sampling

Soul music, on the other hand, was all about emotion and expression. The raw, unfiltered passion of soul music was aptly captured in the sampling techniques of early hip-hop producers. One of the most sampled soul artists in hip-hop is James Brown. Brown’s unique blend of funk, soul, rhythm, and blues has been sampled in countless hip-hop tracks. Brown’s “Funky Drummer” has become one of the most iconic samples in hip-hop and has been used by everyone from Public Enemy and Run-DMC to Dr. Dre and Kanye West.

Jazz And Soul Music As A Source Of Inspiration For Hip-Hop Sampling

As hip-hop music evolved, so did its sampling techniques. Producers and artists began to look beyond just using samples to create beats but also as a source of inspiration for their lyrics and melodies. Jazz and soul music became fertile ground for this kind of experimentation. Artists like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and The Roots infused jazz and soul samples into their music, not just for the danceable beats but also to add depth and richness to their lyrics and melodies.

Other Examples Of Jazz And Soul Sampling

Hip-hop’s rich history is peppered with countless examples of jazz and soul samples. Some of the most iconic tracks in the genre owe their existence to these tried-and-true sources. One example of hip-hop greatly influenced by these genres is “N.Y. State of Mind” by Nas. The track samples Joe Chambers’ “Mind Rain,” featuring a haunting and soulful beat with Nas’s gritty and introspective lyrics. Another iconic track that has sampled jazz is “Electric Relaxation” by A Tribe Called Quest. The track heavily samples Ronnie Foster’s “Mystic Brew,” creating a hypnotic and smooth rhythm that complements Q-Tip and Phife Dawg’s playful yet insightful lyrics. These songs and many more showcase the versatility and creative genius of hip-hop producers who have skillfully incorporated jazz and soul samples to create a new wave of music.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, jazz and soul music have significantly influenced hip-hop music. Jazz represents the improvisational spirit and freestyling DNA that runs through hip-hop music, while soul represents the raw, unfiltered emotions that hip-hop music embodies. Jazz and soul music have been sampled and used as inspiration by countless hip-hop producers and artists, and their influence can be felt in the music of some of hip-hop’s most iconic names, from Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, and Kendrick Lamar to Public Enemy, Run-DMC, Dr. Dre, and Kanye West. According to Benjy Grinberg, without jazz and soul music, hip-hop music would not be what it is today – a global phenomenon that has influenced not just music but also fashion, art, and culture.

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