When you think rock music do you think of Arabs? When you think of genre bending do you think of Arabs? When you think of world music, indie band, do you think of Arabs? The majority of us don’t. Well, get ready to change your mind. Remember this name – Kuwaisiana.
I’ve always taken issue with how the word “genre” can mean that an artist must work within certain boundaries . So, when I come across Kuwaisiana on Instagram, an indie rock band with a world music sound that’s also infusing New Orleanian jazz, dynamic Khaliji rhythms, and Arabic lyrics, I was intrigued and totally there for it.
The 7-piece crew led by Kuwaiti singer and songwriter +Aziz were signed with Universal Music Mena last year. Men in Power, Nada, Murra, are some of the titles from their debut album Chapter 1. While each song has it’s own narrative, the sound that links the album together can only be described as genre bending infused, fun, familiar but new and for a lack of a better word – catchy.
The most interesting part of Kuwaisiana’s sound it that their music doesn’t feel forced. They have organically melded different sounds to sound authentic. Usually when other artists have tried to infuse Arab lyrics with a more world or western melody or sounds, it can come off as clunky or uncompromising. But Kuwaisiana pull it off seamlessly.
Lead singer and songwriter +Aziz who made a conscious decision to write lyrics and perform songs in Arabic. With many Arabs across the Middle East as well as those living abroad, struggling to speak in Arabic and the fact that the language is facing major obstacles, +Aziz’s choice to perform in Arabic is an important one.
Through songs, bands like Kuwaisiana, are pushing Arabic in the right direction to show that the language can be flexible, expressive and interesting through a modern, musical lens.
The Arab Edition had a chat with +Aziz to discuss how Kuwaisiana developed their sound, how he got into music and how he came up with bands interesting name.