Sunday, November 15, 2009

XEFM: The Adventures of Prince Achmed | cine-concert in Beirut on Nov. 20, 2009

The METROPOLIS Association,
In partnership with ZIAD NAWFAL,

Lotte Reiniger's
A Cine-Concert by XEFM

On the occasion of the closing night of BEIRUT ANIMATED
(The Beirut Animation Film Festival, Nov. 16-20, 2009)

Friday November 20th, 2009 at 8:30 PM
At Metropolis Empire Sofil – Achrafieh

Ticket Price: 25,000LL – 45,000LL
Seats are limited, please book yours in advance
[Tickets are on sale at Metropolis Empire Sofil]

Information: 03 793065 –


To win the heart of Princess Pari Banou, Prince Achmed must overcome plenty of obstacles, and for that, he will have to get some assistance.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed is the first European animated feature film.
(Germany, 1926, 81min, Arabic intertitles)


The XEFM quartet consists of Charbel HABER on electric guitars, Tony ELIEH on bass (both hailing from rock band SCRAMBLED EGGS), Fadi TABBAL on guitars and percussion (from The INCOMPETENTS), and Abdallah KO on electronics.

Following the release of their self-titled album in 2008, XEFM performed at the Né à Beyrouth film festival in the summer of 2008. Their performance consisted of a live soundtrack to L'AMATEUR, a Lebanese short film from 1955.

In February 2009, XEFM created a new soundtrack for famed Russian art-house film MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA (1929), and performed it live in Beirut at The Basement.

THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCE ACHMED performance will see XEFM tackling the animation genre for the first time, and constitutes an all-time premiere in Lebanon.

(This event is made with the support of the GOETHE-INSTITUT of Lebanon)

Friday, March 20, 2009

XEFM: concert on April 3, 2009

IXth International Festival for Experimental Music in Lebanon

April 3-4-5-9-10, 2009

Friday April 3

"XEFM" (lb)
° Tony Elieh : electric bass, electronics
° Charbel Haber : electric guitar, electronics
° Abdallah Ko : electric guitar, electronics
° Fadi Tabbal : electric guitar, electronics, percussion

Spera/Zerang (it/usa)
° Fabrizio Spera : drums
° Michael Zerang : drums

Sun Plexus 2 (fr)

Friday April 3 2009 at 8:30pm
@ Art Lounge, Karantina, River bridge

Monday, February 2, 2009

XEFM - radio interview on Feb. 2, 2009

Radio Liban - 96.2 FM

XEFM sur Ruptures ‘Zoom Sur’ (2/2/09)
Emission présentée par Ziad Nawfal.

ABDALLAH KO et CHARBEL HABER, membres du groupe de rock expérimental Libanais XEFM, en interview sur 96.2FM. Ils présentent leur Cinemix / Concert ‘MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA‘, programmé au club The Basement le Vendredi 6 Fevrier.

Plus de détails sur le site de l'émission:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

XEFM : Man with a Movie Camera | cine-concert in Beirut on Feb. 6, 2009

Presented by Ziad Nawfal.


9pm - XEFM LIVE creating a new soundtrack to MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA
11pm - MILES
1am - JADE


Lebanese experimental rock band XEFM will take to the stage at The Basement Beirut to create a new soundtrack for famed Russian art-house film MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA.

XEFM are no strangers to the CINEMIX tradition, as they have already contributed a short piece of music to a Lebanese silent film shown recently at the ‘Né à Beirut’ festival. On this occasion, however, they will tackle an altogether grander task; that of providing a live musical accompaniment to a full-length, celebrated feature.

Dziga Vertov's MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA was created in 1929. This controversial film is an extraordinary piece of film-making, a montage of urban Russian life, showing the people of the city at work and at play, and the machines that keep the city going.

It was Vertov's first full-length film, and he used all the cinematic techniques at his disposal - dissolves, double exposure, fast and slow motion, freeze-frames, jump cuts, split screens, extreme close-ups, tracking shots, footage played backwards, and animations - to produce a work that is exhilarating and intellectually brilliant, a sublimely fluid vision of man, machine, and society.

The XEFM quartet of CHARBEL HABER (electric guitar), TONY ELIEH (bass), FADI TABBAL (electric guitar), and ABDALLAH KO (guitar and electronics), created on their 1st release from 2008, a superb tapestry of sounds, merging ambient electronica and outlandish noise. It should be fascinating to hear them transpose their sound, one that is suffused with Beirut’s urban maze, into 1930’s Russian art-house cinema.



Friday, February 6 2009 at 9:00pm
@Beirut Basement, Beirut, Lebanon

Saturday, November 1, 2008

"Out of the Middle" : group exhibition in London on Nov. 20, 2008

"Out of the Middle"

Coleman Road is pleased to present Out of the Middle, a group exhibition featuring work by Souhail Al Zaatari, Abdallah Ko and Jon Nash.

The exhibition brings together the works of three very different artists, examining the overlapping of diverse personal perspectives. Functioning much like ideas of an ‘Orient’ the ‘other’ exists as an unknown, between collective identities.

"Most of Abdallah Ko’s paintings are on square canvases, an original format that was inspired by the Chinese writing system and calligraphy. Through various medias and techniques such as print, collage, charcoal, pigment, spray or finger painting, the artist usually works on a form, more or less alive, shifted from its original environment and as if frozen, placed to float inside the frame like a Chinese ideogram."

@Coleman Road Gallery, London, UK

Sunday, August 10, 2008

XEFM : 15min. concert in Beirut, on August 23 2008

The band XEFM will be playing live on a short film (15 min.)

The Amateur by Hassib Chams, Super 8, 1955

Saturday, August 23 2008 at 8:30pm
@Centre Sofil, Cinema Empire, Beirut, Lebanon

Festival du Film Libanais

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Charbel Haber + XEFM : double concert on July 31, 2008

A double-launch concert for 2 albums:

"From The Canaries in The Coal Mines Comes an Endless Stream of Reveries" by Charbel Haber

"XEFM" by XEFM (Charbel Haber, Fadi Tabbal, Tony Elieh, Abdallah Ko)

Ticket: 15.000LL including 1 of the 2 albums.

CD's are available online at:



"The quartet of Charbel Haber, Tony Elieh (both hailing from punk band Scrambled Eggs), Fady Tabbal (from Tunefork Recording Studios), and Abdallah Ko (the loose cannon in this wild bunch), creates an intriguing, foggy tapestry of sounds, spreading over six tracks, and hovering between ambient electronica, folksy rock, and outlandish noise."


Thurday, July 31 2008 at 8:30pm
@ "La Crypte de l’Eglise St-Joseph", Beirut, Lebanon

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Article in "The Daily Star" - Oct. 15 2005

"Thinking outside the box to become something, anything new"
Abdallah Ko mounts an exhibition that subverts the gallery system from within

By Kaelen Wilson-Goldie
Daily Star staff
Saturday, October 15, 2005

BEIRUT: More than 30 works fill the latest exhibition at Espace SD and they could have been done by at least 20 different artists. Spare paintings set on clean grids hang near rambunctious collages covered with photocopied papers, old pictures, cluttered maps and sexually explicit graffiti. An abstract photograph is mounted among a suite of figurative drawings. Three-dimensional readymades jostle for space between flat digital images printed on canvas. Yet each piece is stamped in the lower right corner with a box around a red letter A. For anarchy? Definitely. The stamp also marks the signature of an artist going by the name of Abdallah Ko, who in fact produced every work in this wildly varied and disparate exhibition.

"Abdallah Ko: Peintures" represents a decades' worth of artistic production and experimentation. The two readymades - one with a petrified gold leaf and what looks like an air conditioning hose, the other with heavy metal piping and a plastic Virgin Mary figurine, both arranged in wooden desk drawers - date back to the early 1990s. The work entitled "Two Brothers," a digital image transposed onto canvas and lightly painted over, was finished just a few hours before the opening of the show.

Yet none of the works are for sale, he explains, because "many of them are too new. I didn't use them yet. I haven't finished playing with them or enjoying them."

Of his multi-disciplinary (even anti-disciplinary) approach, he adds: "I play with different things, whatever is around. The materials are not the most important thing to me. [The work] is related to many things, I guess. It's like a diary."

One piece features a retro-glamour snapshot of two unknown girls sunbathing on a grassy hill surrounded by trees. Abdallah tweaked the image digitally, multiplying into an accordion pattern that stretches up the right and down the left side of the frame. When he transferred the picture onto canvas, he brightened the colors with paint. "Then I felt it needed something else so I emptied two bottles of glitter on it," he explains, deadpan.

Spinning around to face another piece, arguably the strongest and most enigmatic in the show, he explains how he collected over 200 empty containers of Bonjus, the classic kitsch orange juice that comes in a triangular container punctured by a stiff plastic straw, and mounted them all on a wood board. "I started in 2002," he says. "By the last row I really had to force other people to drink them." Over this ordered grid of juice-box pyramids, Abdallah added the colors of the Lebanese flag and drizzled black paint onto the entire construction. The title? "Heroes."

Abdallah Ko not only paints but creates music and writes fiction and poetry as well. He has a pile of as-yet-unpublished manuscripts and is part of a loose collective of musicians - including Mazen Kerbaj and Charbel Haber among others - who are pushing the boundaries of free improvisation. Abdallah studied architecture in Montreal and fine art and literature in Paris, he is a working web developer and co-founder of ZWYX ( "It's not easy to do many things and do them well," he explains.

His name is also indicative of the difficulty artists in Beirut sometimes have in dealing with the weight of names. Cutting off one's family name can effectively free an artist up to create work as an individual, not as a member of a clan, a tribe, a sect or a community (in a similar vein, consider the work produced by the fictional artistic persona of Ali Hussein Badr or the anonymous artists' group known as Heartland.)

Abdallah says he doesn't want to support the tight associations that are often made between an artist and his or her family. Personal issues aside, this plus his refusal to sell his work adds up to a curious, and perhaps unintentional, critique of the Lebanese art market as a whole. For what drives the local exchange rate for contemporary art if not the mothers and fathers and aunts and cousins (and occasionally close friends) who buy up the work of their progeny?

"Painting is not done to decorate apartments," Pablo Picasso remarked in 1945. "It is an instrument of war for attack and defense against the enemy." Yet with the exception of critical art practices that are, by and large, supported by outside funding and exhibited abroad, the art scene here in Beirut in 2005 remains stubbornly bourgeois and provincial, precisely about painting done to decorate apartments. The practical discourse about art remains virtually indistinguishable from that of buying furniture.

Very few living painters can establish anything but a wholly artificial market for their work when their sell-through rate depends on predetermined circles. Rarely do those circles overlap or include serious, non-nepotistic collectors. Galerie Sfeir-Semler, which opened in Karantina this past April, is posing a fine challenge to the system. In the meantime, Abdallah's show pulls off its own acts of subversion.

To hold an exhibition like this at a gallery that asks its artists to contribute to the cost of showing their work from the sales of that same work would seem to be a huge indulgence. In money terms, it is a lose-lose proposition for artist and gallery alike. And it's not an especially coherent show to begin with. But then again, the exhibition forces people to simply engage the work and leave empty handed.

Abdallah says visitors have so far expressed curiosity, annoyance, even aggression upon discovering his no sales policy. "They want to possess," he says, laughing as he clutches his hands together in a gesture of mock consumption. Abdallah, by contrast, wants them to look and respond. It's a bit of critical entrapment, if you will.

And there is something subtle and consistent to be found in the mess of styles, subjects and materials on view. A few years ago Abdallah tried to teach himself Chinese calligraphy. He was taken with the idea that every character resides in a small square, a little box. But each logogram represents a word or a meaningful unit of language that is connected only phonetically, not meaningfully, to older such forms. "The meaning of the characters floats with time," he explains. "There's no semantic meaning that's fixed."

That idea of a box - as a cage, a container or a trap - filters into all the works on view. It's as if to say that Lebanon - too small a country and squeezed geographically, politically and psychologically - is its own kind of box. But like the characters it too lacks fixity, and therein lays the potential to make what's inside of it mean something, anything new.

"Abdallah Ko: Peintures" closes Saturday at Espace SD. For more information, check out

Source: The Daily Star -
Date: Oct. 15 2005
Place: Beirut, Lebanon
Author: Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

Friday, October 7, 2005

Press article in "An-Nahar" - Oct. 7 2005

Source: An-Nahar -
Date: Oct. 7 2005
Place: Beirut, Lebanon

Friday, September 30, 2005

Press article in "Al-Liwaa" - Sep. 30 2005

Source: Al-Liwaa
Date: Sep. 30 2005
Place: Beirut, Lebanon