Laila Sarkis, aka El Djette, stands on an elevated platform above the packed crowd of Club 27 in Beirut on a Friday night, with turntables at her fingertips and a computer on her right. She moves to the beat of easy listening, remixed from one side to the other, clearly in her element — as she should be, with 15 years of experience spinning tunes in Beirut’s bars and clubs.
Sarkis has female company in the nightlife scene now, but that was not always the case. When she started in 2000, she found herself an anomaly in what was traditionally a man’s world in Lebanon. Since then, the Lebanese DJ, who grew up in Nigeria and only planned to be here for two years and has stayed for 15, has helped push the music scene forward, perpetuating the recent rapid growth of women behind the decks.