BRITISH-LEBANESE singer-songwriter Nadine Khouri, herself born in Beirut, has today released a live version of “To Sleep” across all digital platforms in support of victims of the deadly blast in her birth city a month ago.
The original version of “To Sleep” featured on her New Dawn EP and is, Nadine says, “a lullaby from a war zone”; it was written from the point of view of herself as a child.
She says: “As I child, I sometimes struggled to sleep because of the sound of shelling.
“I’d lie awake for hours and watch strips of light streaming across the ceiling, maybe because it reassured me there was still life outside.”
Nadine cut her performing teeth in New York, before being picked up by PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish.
Speaking about the dreadful explosion, which at a current count has left almost 200 dead and 6,500 injured, Nadine says: “I was in London, where I live, when I received videos from my father of our family home in shambles.
“I had a moment of dissociation processing the images. My bedroom destroyed. Dismantled doors, collapsed ceilings, sprayed blood, shattered wood, shredded curtains, piles of glass. Even from abroad, the pervasive sound of crackling glass across the city had become nauseating.
“My father had been spared his life and from serious injury; others were not as fortunate. It is hard to find the words to describe the aftermath of the horror. The stories coming out of Beirut are harrowing. What happened on 4 August will never be forgotten and I implore the world not to forget the Lebanese people.”
The gorgeous live version you hear here was performed as a first take at The Crypt Studios, North London, with musicians Basia Bartz (violin, backing vocals) and Vince Webb (piano).
We’ve included the video below, but if you can get over to Bandcamp – there’s a kicker link embedded, above – and buy a beautiful song to help ordinary citizens recover from a tragic event; or visit https://lebanoncrisis.carrd.co/#donate