Does the world really need another cover of the Cranberries’ smash hit Zombie? As it turns out, Luciana Zogbi and Andre Soueid’s sublime cover demonstrates that, in the right hands, there is always room for interpretations of classic songs. Not only do Zogbi and Soueid give the song a fresh arrangement, but they universalise its humanitarian message.
The first thing one notices with Zogbi and Soueid’s version is the haunting tone of Soueid’s beautifully controlled violin playing, which sits on a discreet piano background. Whereas Zombie was one of the harder rocking tracks in the Cranberries repertoire, Soueid’s playing brings the melody to the fore, and the effect is mesmerising.
Just when you’d happily listen to Soueid play an instrumental version of Zombie, the camera pans to Luciano Zogbi. The moment she starts singing, you know it’s only going to get better. She has a lovely voice, her enunciation and timing are superb, and she’s got soul to spare. Then there is the fact that Sao Paulo-based Zogbi has Brasilian and Lebanese ancestry, while Soueid is Lebanese and based in Beruit. Given the social strife in Brasil and Lebanon, this cover is particularly poignant.
There was always a universal aspect to Dolores O’Riordan’s lyrics, which primarily addressed the “Troubles”. Fortunately, the Troubles have largely passed. Despite her clear singing, Zogbi lacks an Irish accent. When she sings about tanks and bombs and guns, she sings from the heart and it’s as if she were addressing present-day Brazil and Lebanon and beyond… Zogbi has a very large following since her John Legend cover went viral in 2014, so her songs make an impact. Here is her breakout video:
Zogbi’s cover of All of Me has amassed 122m Youtube views. It remains her most popular video, and no doubt contributes to her having 2.82M subscribers to her channel (and to the 9.9m views of the Zogbi and Soueid’s Zombie). Speaking to Naluda Magazine in 2018, Zogbi described her experience with All of Me: “I never imagined being able to do music professionally. It was too far away from my world. I posted a singing video on YouTube for my family and friends, and to my surprise, it went viral. So I continued posting covers on YouTube and I’m now starting to share my own original music”. Zogbi adds that the internet acted like a “magical stage” with access to millions of viewers worldwide. “It’s like this amazing venue with no maximum capacity”, she concludes.
30-year-old Andre Soueid joined the Lebanese National Conservatory at the age of six. By the time he was nine, he was playing weddings. He soon progressed to yachts and clubs, often accompanying tracks laid down by DJs. In time, he was playing at Beruit’s most prestigious venues. His accompaniment of established Arabic performers (he name-checks Ragheb Alame, Elissa, Melhem Barakat, Nawal Al Zoghbi and Michel Fadel) led to him performing around the Middle East, and took him to Canada and the USA.
Soueid joined the renowned Lebanese Oriental Orchestra in 2010. Within a year, he was composing and arranging original works for the orchestra. Over the last seven years, Soueid has posted videos to his YouTube channel. The music he posts covers a wide range of styles, from what he calls Oriental deep house and melodic techno to covers of popular songs (English and Arabic) to traditional Arabic music (both folk songs and classical). There are also examples of his work with the Lebanese Oriental Orchestra. With 17M views in 5 years, Soueid’s cover of Ed Sheeran’s Perfect is the most popular video on his channel. With 15m views, his violin cover of Yara by Ma Baaref is his next most popular track, which demonstrates the broad appeal of his music.
Andre Soueid’s finely judged accompaniment of Luciano Zogbi on Zombie, as posted on Zogbi’s channel, brought him to the attention of a far bigger audience than he has on his own channel. It also greatly enhances the track. On the evidence of Zogbi and Soueid’s Zombie, the song remains pertinent and powerful. Around the world, the anguished cry of Dolores O’Riordan’s most popular song is as resonant as ever. Would that it were otherwise. “It’s not me, It’s not my family …”
If you would like to see more from Luciana Zogbi & Andre Soueid you can subscribe to Andre’s YouTube channel or follow him on Facebook. You can subscribe to Luciana’s YouTube channel or follow her on Facebook or Instagram.