2321657 / al arqām, Youmna Saba's soundpiece is originally based on a text written by a refugee child from Aleppo who, while in a refugee camp in Lebanon, develops a fear for numbers: number of the camp, number of the tent, number of his family...his entire life is identified by numbers.
What Youmna Saba does is to take those elements that in classical arab music are front and center - such as the voice and the oud - and to bring them to a non fluid background. At the same time she put a rhythmic section in the forefront, binding the reading of the melodies to a cycle of 2321657.
By turning upside-down the hierarchies in musical listening, Youmna Saba creates a dissonant space on one hand we’re looking for something familiar in the melodies while of the other our imagination is almost constricted by the imposing rhythmic structure. She beautifully managed to translate in music the dissonance of a life constricted by the squared rules of a refugee camp.