Hanna Barakat is a Texas born, Lebanese-American singer/songwriter/guitarist, graduate of Berklee College of Music and international performer. Influenced and inspired by hard rock and popular music styles, Hanna’s unique style merges Arabic/oriental influences for powerful and genuine connection with her audience. Socially and politically charged, her passion-driven compositions and performances often add Arabic ornamentation, as well as other musical influences to transcend language and borders to touch the heart.
Born in the U.S. to an American mother and a Lebanese father, Hanna spent her early years home-schooled while traveling around the world with her family. From the time she was able to speak, Hanna has been humming and singing and dreaming of music. At the age of four she recorded a jingle project for Radio Disney, and from that point on she performed in various musicals and events through her teens.
She began studying at Berklee College of Music in September 2007 and until graduation in May 2010, with a Bachelor of Music in Songwriting, Magna Cum Laude, as a voice principle, Hanna performed in songwriting showcases, performance competitions, ensemble recitals and some principal productions, including her own Commencement Concert May 7, 2010 at the Agannis Arena at Boston University honoring guest artists: Paco de Lucia, Angelique Kidjo, Gamble and Huff, and Kenny Barron.
Passionate about her Lebanese heritage, Hanna strives to represent the culture, language, music and, most importantly, the social/political struggles. She was a member of the Berklee Middle Eastern Fusion Ensemble for two years, performing with distinguished artists such as Simone Shaheen of Palestine, Bassam Saba of Lebanon, Erkan Ogur, and Laço Tayfa's Hüsnü Şenlendirici of Turkey. She also performed with the New Kids on the Block, Kirk Franklin, and the New York Gypsy All-Stars. She personally directed and performed in the group representing the Middle East in the Berklee 2009 International Folk Festival. She headlined at the Boston “House of Blues” main stage in May of 2010.
At 21, Hanna moved to Beirut, Lebanon, to pursue two of her true loves: music and the Arabic language. She performed her original fusion music, as well as a variety of cover tunes throughout the country, forming a deep bond with her band mates and forging a lasting impression in the community. From there, the world was her stage, traveling, performing and living abroad.
Aside from touring in the Middle East, Hanna has been booked throughout the Ottawa-Gatineau area of Canada, in the states of Yucatan and Guanajuato, Mexico, as well as numerous venues in the U.S.A, such as Austin, TX and now in her new home, New York City!
Influenced and inspired by hard rock and popular music styles, Hanna combines Eastern music with contemporary Western music, demonstrating her own varied cultural background while connecting with others – both those displaced from their homelands and influenced by multiple cultures around them, and mainstream audiences that appreciate writings of personal encounters, relationships, life issues, circumstances and, of course, love. The simple concept of combining world music styles (Eastern Rock Fusion) allows for intercultural connections among the musicians as well.
“It is amazing to see young adults from various backgrounds, religions, mindsets, prejudices, etc. that would normally separate them, join together and produce such brilliant sounds… Those unique situations are the fertilizer for peaceful soil… and this Earth needs much of that.” –Hanna Barakat
HONORS & AWARDS
Indie International Songwriting Contest 2016 - 1st Place Winner for Original Rock Composition, “Cycle”, 2016
Indi.com and America's Got Talent - Judge’s Pick, Los Angeles Castings - for Original Song Challenge, and a front of-the-line pass to audition live for the producers, “Leave Your Light On”, 2016
Indi.com - Judge’s Pick, Original Rock Challenge, “Leave Your Light On”, 2016
Music I/O - Original Rock Challenge - 1st Place, “Criminal” 2015
Music I/O - Original Song Challenge (All Genres) - 3rd Place Overall, “Criminal”, 2015
Berklee College of Music – Songs for Social Change Runner-Up, "Cycle," 2010
Berklee College of Music – Women Musicians Network Competition Winner, "Cycle," 2010
Berklee College of Music – Substance Abuse Awareness Competition Finalist, "Let Go," 2010
Berklee College of Music – Songwriting Department Annual Competition Winner, original "Cycle," 2010
Berklee College of Music – Walter W. Harp Liberal Arts Music & Society Award, Excellence Award, 2010
Berklee College of Music – Lester Lanin Endowed Scholarship, 2010
Berklee College of Music – Jack Maher Award, Songwriting Department, 2010
Berklee College of Music – Songwriting Department Performer/Songwriter Competition Winner, "Wanting to Go Home," 2009
Berklee College of Music – Berklee Achievement Based Scholarship, 2009-2010
Berklee College of Music - Student Ambassador, 2009
Berklee College of Music - Dean's List 2007-2010
The New Kids On the Block - Comeback Tour (Boston, MA, Providence, RI, & Uncasville, CT)
Don Was, Paula Cole, Kirk Franklin, Erkan Ogur, Bassam Saba, Simon Shaheen, Husnu Şenlendirici, Atlas Soul, The New York Gypsy All-Stars, Berklee Middle Eastern All-Stars
Sabi Saltiel, Phillip Ferrell, Justin Newry, Kevin Camp, Marcus McCulley, Phil Laeger, Meg Todd, Jean Madani
FEATURE FILM APPEARANCE
“The Alamo,” featuring Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton, Austin, TX, 2003.
VHI Concert Series: New Kids On the Block at the TD Banknorth Gardens, Boston, MA; background vocalist
Radio Disney, Dallas, TX; recorded theme jingle for the radio show produced by John Hooper
TD Banknorth Gardens, Mohegan Sun, Providence Civic Center, House of Blues, Boston University Agganis Arena, Berklee Performance Center, Webster Hall, Knitting Factory