Rayess Bek


Rayess Bek (1979, Nabatieh, Lebanon) is the name Wael Koudaih operates under. After taking his degree in applied arts at the Academie Libanaise des Beaux Arts, he completed his studies in Paris at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Deco with research on interactivity and a master’s degree at the Université Paris 8, for which he did research in the field of contemporary art and new media. Koudaih started rapping when he was fifteen and started the hip hop group Aks’ser with a friend three years later. He was one of the few at the time to rap not only in French, but already in Arabic as well. He began a solo career in 2002 and went on to become one of the principal Arabic representatives of hip hop and urban music. He increasingly uses instruments from the Middle East in his music, both in the form of samples and played live, and combines these with electronic percussion. In 2012, he attracted attention with ‘Goodbye Schlöndorff’, an audio-visual performance with clips both from ‘Die Fälschung’, which the German filmmaker filmed in Lebanon, as well as from the making-of of this film. The soundtrack consists largely of cassette mail his family sent him from Lebanon to Paris during the Lebanese civil war. In 2015, he worked with the photographer Randa Mirza for the first time on Love and Revenge, in which they breathe new life into old Arabic popular cinema and music by casting these in a form consistent with production techniques common in modern popular music.