Beirut is the band of 22-year-old Santa Fe native Zach Condon. The band's first official release was assisted by Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel, A Hawk and a Hacksaw) and Heather Trost (A Hawk and a Hacksaw); it combines elements of Eastern European and folk sounds. Condon plays the trumpet and the ukulele as his main instruments, having been unable to play guitar because of a wrist injury that prevented his hand from reaching fully around the neck of a guitar.
Though young, Condon has already released a few albums. He recorded under the name The Real People when he was 15, making The Joys of Losing Weight, which is a lo-fi electronic record fashioned consciously after The Magnetic Fields. At 16, he recorded an entire doo-wop album that was inspired by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers. The album was recorded in 2001-2002 and has never been officially released. Condon attended Santa Fe High School, where he was a student until he dropped out at the age of 16 to travel Europe (with his brother Ryan Condon) where he was first exposed to Balkan gypsy music, notably including the Boban Markovi? Orchestra and Goran Bregovi?.
In 2006, Beirut released two Balkan-inspired recordings through Ba Da Bing, Gulag Orkestar and Lon Gisland, both also available as an expanded version of Gulag Orkestar LP through the UK label 4AD. Beirut's second official album, The Flying Club Cup, was released in 2007.
Live, Beirut's shifting roster generally consists of Condon accompanied by Perrin Cloutier (cello/accordion), Jason Poranski (guitar/mandolin/ukulele), Nick Petree (drums), Kristin Ferebee (violin), Paul Collins (organ/keys/tambourine/ukulele), Jon Natchez (baritone sax/mandolin/glockenspiel), and Kelly Pratt (trumpet/euphonium).