when arabs danced

— OST by Simon Fransquet


1. Opening
2. Hope
3. Discussion Under The Tree
4. Hope (Variation)


Multi-instrumentalist specialised in various disciplines, Simon finally found his interest for both sounds and images reconciled through his newfound love of score composition, an area that would deeply benefit from the various techniques he had learned. 

His activities vary from composition - notably for his world music jazz quartet Taxidí - to scoring stage plays and performances such as London ensemble's "Artism", as well as video games, commercials, TV shows, and film scores.

As a composer, Simon has worked on over a dozen projects from short author films to long features, such as Nous Quatre by Stéphane Hénocque, or in collaboration with partners such as Artemis Productions, Nexus Factory and TAKE 5, including some which were nominated and awarded at famous national and international movie events.

Simon won the 2019 Magritte of Best Original Music for his work on When Arabs Danced.

"Winning the Magritte of Best Original Music was so unexpected! In the first place, because I consider being nominated alongside artists I admire already a huge victory. Yet winning the prize, even if the film was not nominated in other categories, assured me that the voters should have truly liked my music.” - Simon Fransquet

ABOUT when arabs danced

When Arabs danced - documentary selected for many prestigious festivals such as the Toronto International Film Festival, the Goteborg Film Festival and the Visions du Réel - deals with a currently strong topic, which is the islamification of the Arab culture.
Director Jawad Rhalib about the movie: "A fundamentalist hates life. For him, it presents temptation, a moving away from God and a loss of time before the celestial paradise. Life is the product of disobedience and this disobedience is the work of the ARTIST. The artist is, therefore, the devil and in order to be able to kill him, the fundamentalist labels him the enemy of Allah. Formerly carefree, the Arab-Muslim world has now become the epicenter of a blind and often violent fundamentalism."

For this intense documentary, Jawad Rhalib decided to rely on Belgian composer Simon Fransquet for the score: "Simon's talent and work have indubitably brought a new aesthetic dimension to our film. For me, Simon's music is a movie character in its own right."


Simon Fransquet about his work on When Arabs danced :

"When I first watched Jawad’s movie I was struck by the amazing quality of its images. I love how music can sublimate a film, as well as how the image sublimates the music. In the movie, the music obtains its own true place, which is quite rare for a documentary. Here in particular, the music is like a character having a role in a movie dedicated to freedom of expression and to art itself.
Before starting to compose, Jawad and I thought about different styles, such as rock and Arabic sounds, but we soon got rid of this idea in order to avoid any clichés.

When I started composing I naturally found a very gentle and melancholic sound, inspired by the beautiful, poetic images of the film. The difficulty and challenge consisted of composing the theme for the dancers, understanding their body movements and rhythm while giving them enough space. It was necessary to create a melancholic score and make it evolve in order to protest against those who condemn all forms of artistic expression. This is one of the reasons I chose classical piano as the main instrument, so that all the repetitive patterns become notes of hope, still attached to a certain melancholy."

Simon Fransquet

Simon Fransquet