David Pearl and Marwan Hawash are giving people what they want to hear, one set at a time.
Photo by Ben Palhov
Nightlife series, Arabs Do It Better was started by David Pearl, Armenian-born DJ who now lives in Berlin following a 13 year stint in Tel Aviv and Marwan Hawash, Palestinian DJ and owner of acclaimed bar, Anna Loulou in Jaffa. The concept materialized during a period when Pearl was slowly separating himself from the Tel Aviv nightlife scene, known for its droves of sundown-to-sunrise folk. During this time of transition, Pearl began compiling Arabic electronic music and filing his favorites under the name, Arabs Do It Better. When Hawash heard of Pearl’s kick, he urged his friend to create something new with the tunes he’d collected and call it, Arabs Do It Better. The duo decided to produce what was intended to be a one-off party at Hawash’s Anna Loulou and were met with an immense amount of positive feedback and energy from the crowds the party attracted. Following the success of the initial event, Pearl insisted that Hawash be involved from then on, DJing alongside him in the series.
The pair talk Arabic music in the industry today and their inspiration:
David Pearl: In the last decade, the Arab nightlife scene in general and the electronic music that comes from Arab countries in particular, is amazing. After years of classical Arabic music and pop, musicians of both Middle Eastern and international descent, began creating music that on one hand is connected to its rich roots and on the other hand, connects to modern music from Techno and House to Acid, Funk and Hip Hop. Arabs Do It Better combines all of these elements into a single party that connects people with different backgrounds, providing a new interpretation of Arabic music.
Marwan Hawash: There is a bit of gap that we try to close with our parties. The Arabic music industry is diverse and feels disjointed from the larger whole. Arabs Do It Better strives to connect the many parts. People aren’t familiar with the Arabic music scene, but it’s on the rise and is becoming a key player in the global industry.
David Pearl: The way people dance inspires me. After spending hours searching for music from all corners of the world, the most amazing thing is to try the music on a crowd and see in real time whether or not it resonates. The moment when it works is the most exciting thing and continues to inspire me.
Marwan Hawash: I want to tell a story. The music always carries a message and I usually try to build a story and deliver it through sound. Of course the music itself is often enough to inspire. Sometimes a Dabke (traditional Arab folk dance) can deliver a stronger message than a lecture, documentary or movie.