Maryah Itani’s Playlist

Gert en Samson – Samson & Gert
This children’s show sums up my early childhood in Belgium. I loved Samson en Gert; I watched their show every evening, read all of their comics, collected their CDs and cassettes (which I still have somewhere in my bedroom in Beirut), and saw them live more times than I can count. When I moved to Lebanon at the age of six, Samson en Gert became my connection to the ‘Belgian half’ of my identity. 

Belle – Notre Dame de Paris
This song was always playing in the car and at home, both in Belgium and in Lebanon. Every time I listen to this song, it reminds me of my parents, my childhood and my love for the French language. When I finally watched (a recording of) the musical, I had a newfound love for the song and Victor Hugo’s story. 

Beirut Ya Beirut – Ahmad Kaabour
This song reminds me of my childhood in Lebanon. I come from a religiously diverse family and went to a secular primary school, so I grew up celebrating many religious holidays, Ramadan included. I had to learn this song for my primary school’s Ramadan festivities, and listening to it takes me back to living in Lebanon and fills me with longing to visit again. 

Get Home – Bastille
On my first visit to Belgium five months after moving to Edinburgh, I couldn’t stop listening to this song. It perfectly captured how, although I was happy seeing my family and friends again, I no longer felt at home in Belgium. Throughout that four-day trip, I longed so much for the home I had made for myself in Edinburgh.

Lola – The Kinks
Although I loved it long before I met him, this song instantly reminds me of my partner. When we first met, he was constantly singing it around my flat, and now I can’t not associate the song with him.