Beirut is an American band which was originally the solo musical project of Santa Fe native Zach Condon. Beirut’s music combines elements of indie-rock and world music. The band’s first performances were in New York, in May 2006, to support the release of their debut album, Gulag Orkestar. Despite their name, Beirut had never performed in Lebanon until the Byblos International Festival in August 2014.
Condon said of the band’s name, “One of the reasons I named the band after that city was the fact that it’s seen a lot of conflict. It’s not a political position. I worried about that from the beginning. But it was such a catchy name. I mean, if things go down that are truly horrible, I’ll change it. But not now. It’s still a good analogy for my music. I haven’t been to Beirut, but I imagine it as this chic urban city surrounded by the ancient Christian and Muslim worlds. The place where things collide”.