Buy/Stream ‘Under The Sun’ here

Watch the video for ‘We Are One’ here

PHOTO CREDIT: Sama Beydoun



Today, (17th November 2023) Lebanon’s The Wanton Bishops release their anticipated second album ‘Under The Sun’, a homage to Beirut and exploration of its identity. Listen to ‘Under The Sun’ here.

To mark the release, The Wanton Bishops have released a video for ‘We Are One’ – a call for unity in the current political climate. Vocalist Nader Mansour comments on the track, “As hard and unrealistic as it might sound these days, We Are One, all of us, under the sun, transcending borders, countries, governments, religions… Granted that Love is all, but it sure starts by repairing injustice”.

The Wanton Bishops, though a band by every definition of the word, is primarily the vision of one eclectic man – Nader Mansour. A cultural anomaly, considering the fact that he was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, Nader as lead singer is the very epitome of a howling blues man.

Following the release of debut album ‘Sleep With The Lights On’, a Delta blues record inspired by the likes of RL Burnside and Muddy Waters, Nader journeyed to America’s deep south to experience the roots of Mississippi blues. The experience spawned a musical epiphany, as he returned home to Lebanon a changed man with a newly inspired musical vision. Nader’s music slowly emerged from the Delta swamps into the Lebanese mountains, and the music of The Wanton Bishops began to reflect Nader’s homeland, his people, and his personal journey. To quote Nader, “I’m finally getting to the core of the music I want to create, and that core is scarily confused, yet uniquely special, much like our own identity as Lebanese people living in Beirut, that eternal cultural crossroad”. This experimentation is initially heard on the band’s EP ‘Nowhere Everywhere’, and has now become fully realised on new album ‘Under The Sun’ out now on Gnu Roam, distributed via Kartel Music Group.


Track Listing

1. Don’t You Touch The Radio

2. Beirut

3. Do What You’re Told

4. Ya Habibi

5. God’s Own Remedy

6. We Are One

7. Gonna Be Fine

8. Run Run

9. Fallen Angel

10. Jericho

In tandem with the album, Nader has written his own letter to Beirut, which you can read below.


By Nader Mansour

“Under The Sun”, The Wanton Bishops’ second album, is a daring quest for identity. Whether it fails or succeeds to achieve its goal is almost irrelevant; the moral is in the process, in the search itself. But a little heads up before I begin: this will be complex. Hang in there if you truly want to know.

There was a time, in the 60’s, when we, the Lebanese, were beautiful. They called it the golden era. Beirut was dubbed the “Switzerland of the Middle East”. Local narco-religious godfathers, Arab Gulf fortunes, corrupt financial institutions, and shady western jet setters all floating around a Mediterranean paradise in decline. Yeah, we were drowning in hedonistic pleasures, money, and glamour; we were fucking magnificent!! But we weren’t perfect. The Gods might’ve blessed us with one of the most beautiful countries in the world, yet something intrinsically evil was just built-in. An inevitable storm was brewing upon us, one that would spare no one, no one at all, for decades and generations to come.

In 1975 the civil war officially breaks out. The country quickly becomes a laboratory for a micro proxy war between the two biggest world powers: the United States and Russia. Internal allies pledge their respective allegiances, and the war claims the lives of more than half a million innocent (and less innocent) people. Millions immigrate and create lives somewhere else, anywhere but here! New weapons are tested, new intelligence techniques, strategies, and at the time, the new-born concept of media war is first introduced. It was television’s first real war. Western journalists, spies, and diplomats flocked into the city. Then along came herds and herds of foreign troops with doomed peace-keeping missions, preferring to frequent the ultra-liberal clubs and cabarets. And loyal to its reputation as a party destination and eternal melting pot, Beirut indulged. One massive “Danse Macabre”.

My generation was born in the early 80’s. Our formative years in the shelters, we grew up to the sounds of Feyrouz and Oum Kolthoum, when bombs didn’t hit too close or too loud, and since we didn’t know any better, we weren’t exactly unhappy. It’s true that we were raised in a constant fear of the other, but we still managed to play together, of course – good guys and bad guys, and we would alternate. Will we still be here in the morning? It was a question everyone asked. We lived day by day; dreams were a luxury we couldn’t afford.

Unable to militarily annihilate each other, the Tai’f ceasefire agreement inaugurated the 90’s. Warlords turned politicians then devised a meticulous plan of distribution of the country’s wealth and reconstruction contracts, veiled in a fake cold-war status-quo that kept us fearing each other, and kept them in control. Business needed stability, and they guaranteed that.

In come the 2000’s, the same figures that can still be found in today’s Lebanon, only older, bolder and morally bankrupt. Oh, and much, much richer! They say the winner writes history. In our case, no one won. Or might I say, THEY did. A class of the finest corrupt pieces of shit sucking the country dry, artfully titillating our post-war traumas whenever we ask for a better life, or simply basic human rights!

Suffice it to say that as people, we never had common ground! The notion of a nation never really existed. We belong to different religions, sects, neighbourhoods, aesthetics, and political parties, as well as cultures. Beirut the city perfectly mirrors that. Take one wrong turn in the city and you’ll end up in a completely different world! We are culturally confused. We’re absolutely fucked. But is that such a bad thing? Well, not entirely. What if, just what if, this confusion IS the common denominator we’ve been looking for? What if IT becomes ground zero for the new Lebanese identity? Crazy right? But hear me out…

We are the post-war generation, children of the gun, and it is our responsibility to give closure and direction to the future generations. Between the war-ghosts, and the internet millennials, there’s a massive gap, and we are the link! We understand both worlds. The Stockholm syndrome and the total disconnect. We are both.

Since we identify with so many different things, why don’t we pick the best and construct a new model? Why don’t we embrace our differences, our confusion, and concoct some sort of best-of compilation in culture, music, religion, art, politics, economics, and way of life, and paint the foundations of the new Lebanon? It could end up being total gibberish, but we could also be on to something here, something even bigger, something that could apply to all of humanity on the large scale. This could be the start of a new hybrid human being, a cross-cultural specimen promoting and practicing tolerance, acceptance, and love. Quite frankly, our survival as a species depends on it…

It’s futile to dissect “Under The Sun” and analyze its genres and styles; it is everything! It’s oriental, electronic, blues, rock n’ roll, psychedelic, surf, synth pop, dance… it’s Lebanese Rock, a new genre, a blueprint for future music. It’s not fusion, it’s confusion; it’s not world music, it’s music from the world, for the world!

Last but not least, I want to address you Beirut, my love:

I know you’re numb by now, you can’t feel a damn thing. We loved the idea of loving you so much that we ended up hurting you a great deal for the last three decades. We made you incapable of love. We made you cold. Then we hated you. But then we hated ourselves. The only way out is love again, bigger, and better. Pure and selfless love, with absolutely no expectations, so that one day, you may be able to trust and forgive us again, and perhaps love us back.

I’m not saying it to hear it back, but I love you!”

The Wanton Bishops new album ‘Under The Sun’ is out now on Gnu Roam, distributed via Kartel Music Group. Stream it here. Watch the video for ‘We Are One’ here.