Michelle and Noel Keserwany are two Lebanese artists who you might recognize from their famous witty songs such as Jagal El USEK, Zaffetleh El Tarik, and Men3id W Men3id, (we repeat and we repeat), among other works of satirical art that perfectly describe life in Lebanon.
The sisters handle the songwriting and composition of their songs. They also design and execute the creative direction, illustration, and production of their music videos.
Their career in writing and composing songs began by coincidence after Michelle’s Jagal El USEK got released by accident and quickly became a big hit.
After the success of her first song, she then went on to team up with her sister Noel Keserwany to take their art to the next level. They did so by incorporating social intervention as content, as in the music video 3al Jamal Bi Wasat Beirut.
Their fandom got bigger and bigger as they focused on socio-political discourse through satirical music videos such as “Panique bel Parlement” and “Zaffatleh el Tarik“.
The two young women have always been inspired by the country’s events and society. Their song Men3id W Men3id, for example, was released right before the last Lebanese parliamentary elections.
In January 2020, the artists released a multi-artist collaborative project called Ka2an 3ayshin (As if we are living).
They wrote about so many subjects that deeply affect the country and its people, so it was only natural that they dedicate a song to the victims of the Beirut explosion.
This new song is called “Romansiyyeh Siyesiyyeh / Rou7 Ya 7amam” (Political Romance, Go Pigeon), and like all of Michelle and Noel’s previous works, it is beautifully and wittingly made.
It is the first music video the sisters direct themselves with the co-director Dania Bdeir.
The sisters captioned their song with the following: “In the midst of an atmosphere of socio-economic collapse and political oppression, we gathered together with our friends to repeat over and over again: We reject the murder of our loved ones, we reject state oppression, and we reject the totality of the corrupt Lebanese political class!”
The961 got in touch with Michelle and Noel, who explained that work on this Romasiyyeh Siyesiyyeh started months before the explosion, which they describe as “the criminal 4th of August explosion.”
Michelle and Noel wanted to write/sing about the government’s corruption, and after the blast, this content became more relevant than ever.
Noel said: “We have a government that can’t provide its people with basic needs, and yet, it represses them. They even brought death into the citizens’ homes.”
With the pressure of the economic deterioration, the corruption, the oppression, the negligence, and the criminal acts all building up, the message that these Lebanese women wanted to deliver became clear: “You can’t suppress a nation that is demanding to live with dignity.”
A few days after the blast, Michelle and Noel gathered all the help they could get to get the song and the music video out as soon as they can, and the team did it!
“With the support of many people and their hard work, we were done and ready to share the song with the world,” Noel added. “What motivated us all is the belief that now more than ever our story and our reality need to be told.”
“We don’t consider ourselves as singers or musicians,” they said. “We do multidisciplinary art to communicate our thoughts and feelings, and most of the time it takes the form of songs and videos.”
“We think that each person plays a role in the long chain of ‘pushing things forward’ in the society we live in,” the Keserwany sisters explained. “And our roles as artists are, not only to produce art, but to make sure that we do all the right research before we write, meet the right experts and people involved in the subject, get a global feel of everything surrounding us, and listening carefully to all the nuances of the discourses of people. We write based on all that,”
“We think of this fight as a routine that should be included in our lives, not as an aim that we should reach. Things might never be as “perfect” as we wish them to be, but that does not stop us from working as hard as we can with all the energy we have left after all the horrible things that the criminal political system put us through, to push things forward.”
Michelle & Noel both hold Master’s degrees in Advertising and work as freelancers in the creative industry.
Michelle is also a screenwriter and filmmaker, while Noel applies an artistic, entertainment-based approach to create and direct awareness campaigns for non-profit institutions and she is currently working on a personal short movie.
It is great to see bright and creative minds still investing in Lebanon and hoping for a better life in this country. When you hear Michelle and Noel Keserwany’s song, you will feel some of that hope, too.