Listen to This: Vote for FARI

Post by Amin Fari

comic1

With all the media hype over the elections on the streets of Kuwait and all the rage over president-elect Trump, I thought I’d take a crack at being a devious politician, too. With each one of the candidates making promising ideas and creating alliances for votes, I thought about sharing with you what I would promise if I were to run for office (in terms of music). I’ve been working in the Music industry since 2002, and feel like I’m at the very least, credible enough to have an opinion. So, if I were to run for the head of Culture & Arts to get my shot at the oval office, my campaign slogan would be: “We are going to bring back music and we are going to build a wall around it”. Even though it sounds outlandish and vague, unlike my other candidates, I am going to show you my plan.

First thing I would do in Office is to locate or create, a credible Art Fund that was financially generous when it came to experimenting with new ideas, like having musicians play at airports on arrival? Sure, why not. This Art Fund, think of it like a Bank, would see itself as the stimulus towards creating a music culture. Art Funds are not a new concept, there are plenty all over the world, but unlike them I would outsource media and events creation to third party companies. Because this is where Art Funds go bad. “But, why Amin?” you might ask, “Why not just keep it all in-house?” Because Art Funds often underestimate the amount of work and field experience that goes into properly executing Public Relations and Event Production. For example, the head secretary should not work as the ticket seller and host on the mic, too. Not outsourcing is usually what determines where an event falls on the fine line between what I like to call “small firework shows” (successful, fun events that bring in crowds, but don’t really go anywhere past that point) and symbolic strategic shows that are impactful or open to stimulate the economic growth of an industry. So, yes, outsource PR and Event Production to third party companies, and throw in a Talent Agency to collaborate with the PR and Event Production companies, and let the Art Fund focus on curating and investing in the Arts.

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Listen to This: Shout out to 99.7, for keeping it real

Post by Amin Fari

mocbuilding

Remember a couple of weeks ago when we talked about the different ways musicians can earn a living making music? Well, while I was researching for that piece, I did a little digging on radio in Kuwait, trying to get a better understanding of how it works. Aside from the fact that very little information is actually out there, I did come to find some interesting facts, but I feel like if I just tell you the story about my own experience with 99.7, it’ll make for a better picture. But first, let me give you some background.

On April 20, 2016, I released my EP album, Plastic Desert Roots. Unlike my earlier works, the focus of this album was on the “heavier” social aspects of my world, something I had tried to stay away from in the past, but I’d been living and performing in Kuwait long enough to feel like it was time – I needed to voice some of the things I was going through. With that, it was only natural for me to want to tap into the reggae genre, where, under the mentorship of Fabrice Mareau, who produced the album, I had access to amazing knowledge from someone who’d been in the industry far longer than I.

“Peace in the Middle East”, “Stay for The Night” and “Pull Over”, three of the titles off of Plastic Desert Roots, all tackle issues that, for the most part, we all have had to deal with to some degree. In “Pull Over”, I basically talk about what it’s like to be me whenever I’m at a tafteesh, (Police checkpoint), or when randomly getting pulled over by cops – long-haired, fedora-wearing Amin, who’s Arabic is not perfect. So, you could say the song is a little… charged, and given the tightening of security measures around the country and the general crackdown on expats from the police department, I was lighting a flame way to close to this gas tank of an issue. But In the song, I don’t curse, and I made sure to give the song enough space so as not to offend anyone – mostly PG-13. So let’s start painting this picture.

superstation

As I drove up to the 99.7FM studio on that 4.20 day, I thought; this does not look at all like what I had expected, I might be a little over my head. I was actually taken aback by all of it, because like many of you, I’m used to a more, let’s say, “Western” approach, where the radio station looks more like a 5 star hotel lobby than a military training facility. But, if you’ve ever actually, physically, visited the station, you’ll realize that you’re entering some sort of a military compound – barricades, machine guns and all. At the gate, I needed to present my Civil ID, some other paperwork that had been requested of me (and not copies of it on my phone, physical hard copies of my documents), my car had to undergo a security check, (kind of like the ones at the bigger hotel chains in Kuwait but way more intimidating), all to ensure that I was a “welcomed” visitor. Once deemed friendly, I was allowed passage.

I was now driving past the gate with but one thought in my head; “Pull Over” is one of the songs I was about to premier on 99.7FM. But, instead of being naïve and trying to compare outwards, I remembered that one of the things I’d dug up on radio was that the history of radio itself actually comes from a military background. During the times of WWI and WWII, the radio served as a medium to share mass information with the general public so it made sense why there was a need to keep it protected. In our not-so-distant history, when Iraqi forces first made their way into Kuwait, TV and radio were the first things they took over. It’s the modern day version of “Capture the flag”. Ok, I assure you this is the only historical reference I’ll be making in this post. So, back to my visit of the 99.7 studio, at that moment I realized that dealing with the radio of a country, a government or public entity, is not something to play with – it actually has the potential to be extremely dangerous, and I was starting to doubt “Pull Over” was going to make it on the air.

When I made it to the studio, I sat with the host, someone who knows my album, had really taken the time to listen to it, and had interesting questions to ask – we did a general talk-through of how the show would play out, went through the album, I told her a little bit about each song and was really looking forward to her presenting my work. We went on air and everything seemed to be going great; we were getting callers engaging with the show, my WhatsApp was firing up with messages from friends, and I had almost entirely forgotten that I was doing all that from inside a military facility in Kuwait.

After the radio break, up next was; “Pull Over”. Now, getting down to the lyrics of the song, I do make a statement with respect to cops, saying in not so many words, “cops take advantage of their position of power”, because, the way I see it, custodians of the law are honest, or should be honest, but that is too often not the case. With a line like, “some cops stop a car to ask a girl out”, I was in essence singing not-so-sweet songs about one government entity of Kuwait, to another government entity of Kuwait. I was feeling the sweat of the predicament. And, when it came time to play the song, the host, with experience on how to navigate these situations, found an angle from which to present the song, maintaining the integrity of its message, without being offensive, to the public or the government. And that is what good hosts do. I got on the air and simply introduced the song as; “‘Pull Over’, and some of the realities of living in Kuwait.” I did not use the words “cops”, I did not say this is “my” experience – I left it wide open. But, without her guidance, I’m sure I would’ve pissed someone off.

or

So, you see, the image that 99.7 projects of themselves, through the music they play, the hosts they employ, and even some of the topics they discuss, can be quite confusing. And, if you’re thinking; they play all kinds of music from the States, a lot of which promotes, even celebrates, controversial, oftentimes taboo behavior in our culture, (and they don’t always catch censorship-worthy lyrics), you’d be right. But that’s the thing. That just let’s you know the obstacles they must continuously face to be able to bring you that from inside that institution. So when you think, why aren’t there more stations? Why is radio so restricted? Why can’t it be more liberal? Or sometimes, simply; why? This is why. And with that, I want to set some things straight, specifically about the hosts.

Many of the most common criticisms of radio hosts lie somewhere between; “these guys aren’t fit to host a radio show”, (and the list of reasons why varies), and “these guys are too restricted”. What I want to say is; with that type of establishment, and that kind of power, it makes complete sense that there is no tolerance for “malpractice”. The fact that the radio also announces prayer times, and not by simply announcing them either, but by broadcasting the athaan, and has regularly scheduled news broadcasts throughout the day that address issues of high-ranking government officials of Kuwait, is testament to the fact that being a host on a radio that shares these ideals, is a matter much more serious than simply entertaining their listeners. Because of that, I’ve actually grown to appreciate what the guys at 99.7RKFM do a lot differently than I did. Here’s another thing, when on the air, contrary to what some might’ve heard, there really isn’t much room for censorship, I’ve been on some of their shows, I know. There really isn’t some miracle technology to magically reset time. The only thing at their disposal is the 5-second delay in broadcasting (because they’re not actually live to the second), which, through this one “chopper” button on their counter, can be used to rewind, well, 5 seconds of time. But after 5 seconds, whatever goes out there, is pretty much out there. That’s a lot of pressure. And, if you think about it, quite a lot of power. And remember, this is a public entity, designed for mass communication, and, as a side “favor”, if you will, does us this luxury of playing cool hip music. But at its core, it’s only meant to ensure that the public receives correct information. So, as listeners, looking to ease our way through morning rush-hour with some good tunes, we take for granted how high the stakes are for these guys. Yes, they come across neutral, or “vanilla”, but when 5 seconds of what can be considered a controversial opinion has the potential to not only get you fired, but have you staring down a loaded legal situation with the government of a country, you’d probably opt for vanilla, too.

On that note, I’d like to show some overdue gratitude to those hosts, past or present, because, even though you might be listening to their show, not enjoying their vibe, those people are doing a job that is the equivalent to walking a tight rope, with a conditional safety net of the “5 Second Rule”, all while trying to entertain their audience. Do you know how many times I’ve said something, just a simple slip of the tongue, over dinner, that I wish I could take back? Something the repercussions of which were huge, and we’re talking a dinner of no more than 10 people. Now imagine that dinner table was the entire country of Kuwait, and that slip of the tongue was heard by every single person tuning in, all at the same time. It carries a different weight. Take a moment to think about that, and I hope that you come to see them differently, too.

Now, because there is actual information I’d like to share, here are some of the things I found while researching this topic. There are currently 9, maybe 10 radio stations in Kuwait; one of which is an independent US military station, another, 88.8FM, a private station, the former director of which, before the recent purchase, had his beginnings with the 99.7 team, and of course, 99.7 – so essentially, we’re talking about the same vibes. So, let’s see what opportunities this new purchase of 88.8 will present. In the meantime, be nice to our hosts, it’s a tough job.

Does anyone know any secrets of what went down with 88.8FM? We’re looking for more info for our upcoming posts.

Love, Music and Peace
Amin FARI

Post by Amin FARI
Are you a musician looking to perform? On the flipside, are you a host looking for musicians to book? Or maybe you’ve just got an awesome idea you’d like to share? Get in touch aminfarilive@gmail.com / Instagram: @xxmrfarixx


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Elevation Seif, Saturday Mornings Live

Post by Mark

elevationseif

This past Saturday, Elevation Burger launched a new breakfast menu at their recently opened Seif strip location. It was my first time at their new location and I loved it. The weather was great, they had live music playing outside and lots of outdoor seating. They were also serving Jumo Coffee but right next door is also Richards Coffee, so you could pick and choose who to get coffee from.

According to Elevation, they’ll be having a similar setup with live music once every couple of weeks so if that happens, the location should end up being a popular Saturday morning chill spot. So keep a look out for it during the weekend events list.

Here is the location on [Google Maps]


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Watch Yesterdays Opening of the Cultural Centre

Post by Mark

If you missed the opening event of the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre yesterday, you can now watch it on YouTube. It’s 2 hours long and features dancing, comedy and music including a performance by Andrea Bocelli.

andrea

Sadly it’s not in HD and the aspect ratio of the video is squished hence why Bocelli looks really skinny in the picture above (come on KTV, get your act together). If you want to skip to the Andrea Bocelli part, his performance starts at the 1 hour 43 minute mark. [YouTube]


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Listen to This: Show Me The Money

Post by Amin Fari

fabrice
@Fabrice

Let’s talk money. Well, that got awkward quick. But, in all honesty, while we’ve spent the last few weeks focusing on how we can support not only our favorite local musicians, but the Kuwait music scene at large, to help build it and be part of its growth, the one thing we have yet to touch on is how musicians in Kuwait make their money.

So, let’s jump right into it. There are a few ways musicians can make money; merchandise sales, album sales, and finally, royalties. That brings us to Radio. Royalties work like this; whenever a song is played on the radio, or used in a commercial, a percentage is paid out to the artist every single time it’s played. The more the song is played, the more the artist gets paid. There are many top grossing musicians out there, living quite comfortably on just royalties as their music gets played over and over again on different radio shows. But, it’s a little different when we’re talking about the Middle East, and of course, Kuwait. This will help explain why you oftentimes get “This video is not available in your region” on YouTube, or why we don’t get Spotify or Pandora. The reason is quite simple, there are no Collecting Agencies for music in the Middle East. Collecting Agencies quantify how much a song is being played and calculate the total payout to the artist based on the royalty percentage. Take a moment. Let that sink in. So, let’s say an artist makes a song, and that song becomes a hit, and gets played on all kinds of radio stations all over the Middle East, they don’t get paid for it. Not once.

omar
@omarafuni

So, how do we listen to all this music on the radio right now? This is how. Radio stations, like 99.7rkfm, through a special license, have access to a “preapproved” music library from which they can select music to be played for a fixed subscription-type fee. But, here comes the interesting part (I use the term “interesting” loosely here); local musicians like Fabrice, Omar Afuni, Coco or anybody else doing the ‘Pop’ music thing on 99.7rkfm does not get paid. No matter how many times their music is played, no matter how many requests are made by you, our fans. This begs the question; well, why aren’t local musicians on these music libraries? Because, in order for that to happen, they would have to Copyright their work in whatever country/region those music libraries originate, for example the U.S. or Europe, and register themselves as a U.S. or European entity, with a U.S. or European bank account where payment would be made, and then finally transferred to Kuwait. In essence, they would no longer be considered Kuwait musicians, which somewhat defies the whole purpose. So, we’re back where we started.

Well, then how do musicians in Kuwait survive? They survive through funding. Musicians are like service traders; the service they provide is the “experience”. That experience is what they sell. That experience is what is exchangeable for money. You might be asking, why do find ourselves in this predicament, Amin? According to some online sources, it’s because we don’t have advanced intellectual property rights in the region. And all you have to do is take a drive down one of Kuwait’s commercial streets to see the effects of that at play. One of Kuwait’s staple toy store, with branches all over the country is a blatant rip off of Disney intellectual property; 101 Dalmatians. You’ll find the same with restaurants, companies, products – ripping off logos, chopping them up, tweaking the font a little, adding a letter here, removing a letter there, and there you have it, their very own “brand new”, “totally authentic” business.

But, music existed in Kuwait before we came along. What happened with Arabic musicians back in the day? How did they make their money? Back then, they put their music out there for free, hoping that with enough air time, it would translate into sales. So they were really banking on listeners enjoying their music enough to eventually make their way to AlNazaer or Cleopatra Record Shop and buy their album. With issues of piracy on the rise, however, even that has become an obstacle, because more likely than not, when you go out to buy those albums, you’re buying pirated CD’s. Are you starting to see the picture? Artists are cornered. Not being able to collect money off of royalties, nor legitimate album sales at record shops, the only option they’re left with is; getting famous. The strategy then becomes; make your music heard everywhere, for free, so much so that you become famous, and then leverage that fame to charge a lot to play at events. Instead of Collecting Agencies they rely on YouTube views to quantify how many times their songs are being played, and use that information when negotiating with Event Organizers or Producers, basically telling them; “my music got this many views on YouTube, which translates into this many people attending your event, and therefore I will charge this much.”

coco
@carolsoukimusic

In reality, though, we live in a society that doesn’t exactly promote many events or festivals, or provide very many opportunities for musicians to perform. Bottom line; the odds are stacked against us – No royalties, no authentic album sales, and no real events or festivals in which we can showcase our work – and it makes it very difficult for us to succeed. Until a change is made in one, or all of those three major aspects, this is our reality, and we need to find a way to work with it.

I know this has been pretty grim so far, and I wish I could tell you it gets better, and maybe one day it will, but it hasn’t just yet. What I’m trying to get you to understand here is this, when you (‘you’ being event organizers or producers) come up to a musician and ask him/her to do a free show, an unpaid show, what you’re really saying is that you don’t believe in their work. Because by not paying them, you’re not really helping them. So, when you’re presented with an opportunity to pay a musician, and pay them well, I ask that you take a second to think about it differently. Instead of trying to cut your costs, and negotiating to get more for less, think of it as trying to save an endangered bird species, (I just can’t seem to get away from this metaphor). With so much already stacked against us, it is you who has the means to incentivize us to keep going, it is also you who has the opportunity to support and be part of the writing of Kuwait’s music culture. Just think about it, and the next time you try to convince a musician that ‘exposure’ is your preferred currency, remember that in essence what you’re saying is; we don’t believe in music, we’re just trying to exploit music.

Peace, Love and Music

Post by Amin FARI
Are you a musician looking to perform? On the flipside, are you a host looking for musicians to book? Or maybe you’ve just got an awesome idea you’d like to share? Get in touch aminfarilive@gmail.com / Instagram: @xxmrfarixx


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Listen To This: #KuwaitMusicScene

Post by Amin Fari

musicscene

So, last week we talked about the different venues around town where you’ll likely find music-centric events beginning to pop up as the season gets back into gear. The week before that we talked about birds a lot, but mostly only to highlight the local music releases which took place over the summer when said birds take time off from live performances to work on creating, producing and ultimately releasing new material. That’s also where I did the “it’s not ‘me’, it’s ‘you’” speech and asked you to go out and be part of the local music industry, and the fact that if a music industry were to not only exist in Kuwait, but thrive, it is only if the fans were to reciprocate. That brings us to this week.

This week I’d like to expand on that idea, to provide a more realistic approach to how you, the fans, can help start archiving this reality. Enter, #KuwaitMusicScene. What I would like to see happen with this hashtag is for people to start using it to tag any of their pictures/posts on social media that have to do with music in Kuwait, or musicians in Kuwait. That way, whether a fan or a musician new to the scene, all they’d have to do is look through the hashtag results and can get a pretty good idea of what our music scene has got going on. Although there have been other hashtags floating around in support of the local music scene, #SupportLocalMusic is a good example, #SupportLocalArtists is another, the problem these hashtags pose is that they’re too broad a spectrum. Yes, you’ll find artists from Kuwait, but you’ll also find artists from all over the world – everyone is ‘Local’ to someone. What using the word ‘Kuwait’ does is filter through all the ‘locals’ to bring you those local to Kuwait. It also means it increases our chances of, let’s say, someone looking up #KuwaitCars, to stumble upon #KuwaitMusicScene. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd, so this is our way of making sure we stick out. Now, lest we find ourselves with videos of exchange students documenting their homesickness and new-found love of Kuwaiti music, let’s lay some hashtag ground rules.

Rule no.1 – Only use #KuwaitMusicScene if an artist is performing in Kuwait; so not a musician from Kuwait, but rather in Kuwait. To put it simply, it is not your nationality that matters, but where your GPS locator says you are. This will help us create a musical archive of what’s going on here, in this time, in this space. Now, there’s actually a lot of space in this hashtag for inclusion. For starters, DJ’s – I do believe DJ’s should be included. I also believe local radio show hosts talking about music should be included because both of those still represent music action in Kuwait. The aim is to make this archive as big and as comprehensive as possible, and to show that there are big enough numbers to create a sustainable industry.

Rule no. 2 – #KuwaitMusicScene applies to more than just events open to the public. A lot goes on behind the scenes in the music industry; from rehearsals and jam sessions, to that one time the artist found the perfect spot in the hallway with killer acoustics and thought it necessary to document it on YouTube – hashtag it all. But, just like rule no. 1, let’s keep this within the borders of Kuwait. This is not a “You can’t sit with us” stance, but an attempt at keeping this archive consistent, and therefore relevant. So, I’m trusting you musicians with this responsibility.

So, if you’re an artist, take a moment and go back to your Instagram and Facebook posts and edit them to include the #KuwaitMusicScene hashtag. If you’re a fan, and maybe remember catching a live performance in the middle of the desert one time, look it up, hashtag it, and help us build this industry. Now here’s the part that’s even better, this doesn’t only go to serve “us”, the musicians and the fans, but event-organizers and event-promoters can benefit from this hashtag when it comes time to market shows which feature some aspect of local music. That way, by the time you get to your weekend, and are looking to see what music is out there, or which musicians are performing, all you’d have to do is look up #KuwaitMusicScene and that would hopefully generate a pretty good, up-to-date response for you to sift through.

Here is a good example of A Lebanese musician that performs and records his blues music in Kuwait.

bluesman
Instagram: @Bluesman81

Now that I’ve laid out my hypothesis, it’s time to experiment. The end of this month, October 28th to be precise, brings us one of the coolest music events of the season – brought to us by Kuwait Rising, hosted by Zahed Sultan with the support of Red Bull, it will feature incredible artists for all over the Middle East. So, if you attend this event, which I absolutely think you should, please take the opportunity to use the #KuwaitMusicScene hashtag along with, what I’m sure is already an existing hashtag, #KuwaitRising.

Here is the link to the [Event]

And, finally, just in case you missed it, Dar Al-athar has already started their music season, and just last week hosted an Arabic-style Flaminco event. If you were there, and have some pictures or videos you plan to share, or have already shared, I ask that you take the time to hashtag them, as well.

Also they have an open call for musicians check their instagram @dai_kuwait and the following [Link]

If anyone out there has a better idea or a more constructive perspective on hashtags in the social media world, please comment below and share your thoughts.

Peace, Love and Music

Post by Amin FARI
Are you a musician looking to perform? On the flipside, are you a host looking for musicians to book? Or maybe you’ve just got an awesome idea you’d like to share? Get in touch aminfarilive@gmail.com / Instagram: @xxmrfarixx


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Listen to This: Music Venues in Kuwait

Post by Amin Fari

baytlothan

A Music Column by Amin FARI

Picking up where we left off last week, talking about music project releases of this summer, let us now talk about the venues where these artist are to perform. I feel like I still want to stick with last week’s bird metaphor, so If I am flying too high with this one, making you feel lost, read the past column to catch up.

As with any animal, many factors come into play when analyzing the environment necessary for their survival, but their growth and prosperity, as well. And, as any bird-watcher would, I like to pay attention to the factors that make said birds and their nests, happy, the lack of which would be equivalent to chopping down their trees. So let’s talk venue. The venue is key – where the artists perform, how they engage, how they perform – setting the tone for what I like to call, their “Live Expression”. It’s becoming more common to see musicians play in stores and in coffee shops, but there’s also the emergence of performances in places like Shaheed Park’s outdoor stage, and other venues that support community and culture. Today, I want to focus on venues that hosted music on a weekly, or even monthly basis.

Loyac
That brings me to the “elephant in the room” (at this point, I’m committed to this animal metaphor system, but I digress). Last season, Bayt Lothan was a key venue, not only for musicians, but the local, creative community at large, and, as we all know, it closed down. This was, in a sense, a huge blow to the local music scene, leaving musicians feeling… lost, not knowing where they would now perform. The last few years of Bayt Lothan, organized by Mahmoud Kamel, a musician himself, supplied us with “Sidra Nights”, “Open Mic Jam”, and “A Night In”, thereby constantly helping the music to grow. After the shut-down, a few other entities tried to carry the torch as the music performance platform, one of which being Loyac. So, if you’re into music and youth theater programs, follow Loyac and watch to see if they’ll be organizing music events in their program for this season. [www.lapa.loyac.org]

Contemporary Art Platform
Now, there are other interesting venues to keep an eye on that cater to both Art and Music, one such venue – CAP, more precisely, their rooftop. And as the weather continues to get better, you’ll find that more events will begin to happen there. They, of course, host other kinds of events in their gallery space, the more obvious being art exhibitions, but, they do host music events, as well. [www.capkuwait.com]

Dar al Athar al Islamiyyah
Dar al Athar, Amricani Cultural Centre, and Yarmouk have always put on great cultural music shows, usually always on a Wednesday, and are considered more culturally authentic performances in the sense that their focus is either local traditional music, or traditional music from around the world. I, however, am hoping that this season, Dar al Athar and Yarmouk go a more… how can I say this; “current”, or maybe even “mainstream” music route. [www.darmuseum.org.kw]

Art Space
I can’t talk venues without mentioning Art Space. The reason I talk about Art Space is because they started small, and as they expanded, they started creating space for performances, small micro-shows, to slowly start coming in. I personally think Art Space is one of the coolest, growing creativity and community hubs in Kuwait, and are a beautiful example of a dream manifesting and coming to fruition. And, already up on their program for this season, they just got done hosting Red Bull’s Urban Culture Week, the second of its kind in Kuwait, aimed at helping individuals in learning, growing and cultivating their talents and interests around music, dance, art and fashion. I believe today is the last day of workshops. [www.artspaceq8.com]

As musicians start gearing up for the new season, and conversations about “where” and “how” start flowing, I’m noticing another interesting venue suggestion pop up; the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre. Now, we don’t know how it’s run, or where to even begin the ball rolling, but a lot of musicians have their eye on it because if they set the tone, it’ll create a ripple effect with all the other venues. If they go for a more traditional route, then Dar al Athar would have to compete, and if Dar al Athar has to compete, then maybe they would expand their program differently. As everyone seems to be looking at the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre to determine the trajectory of the upcoming music season, I recommend you keep an eye out for them because they carry the potential to open up new possibilities for performances.

Is there a birdie out there with knowledge of some of the Cultural Centre’s secrets that they can share?

That’s a wrap on venues, for now.

Love Music and Peace

Post by Amin FARI
Are you a musician looking to perform? On the flipside, are you a host looking for musicians to book? Or maybe you’ve just got an awesome idea you’d like to share? Get in touch aminfarilive@gmail.com / Instagram: @xxmrfarixx


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Listen to This – A Music Column

Post by Amin Fari

aminfari

Yoo!! It’s Amin Fari, or MR.FARI, or just plain Fari. You might’ve caught a few of my shows here in Kuwait, (I’d be the one with a guitar, rocking a man-bun and a fedora), but, just in case you haven’t, I’ll do the one-liner quick intro. I’m a singer/songwriter who studied music in LA and moved to Kuwait in 2013 wanting nothing more than to see the Kuwait music industry grow. Mark has graciously allowed me to contribute to the blog to keep you posted on what’s going on in Kuwait, musically speaking, and to help get the word out. Let’s Jam!

As the temperatures in Kuwait begin to drop, and the weather starts to get better, a few things start to happen; people become friendlier, they become more outgoing, and more outdoor events start to pop up – and in those events, musicians come out to play. It’s as though musicians are birds that come out to serenade the people, making their experience of being outside all the more enjoyable.

And, like every bird-watcher, I observe, looking for new trends. I look for new musicians making their way onto the scene, possible venues where musicians can play, their social media presence, and how they’re promoting their work. This column is really about an observer of Music Culture, one who also happens to participate in the scene, giving you the inside scoop.

Now, in keeping with this bird metaphor, the summer season provides a time for birds to hideout, (I know, this is getting a little too deep with the bird metaphor, but stay with me). Given Kuwait’s scorching summer temperatures, it’s the perfect time for musicians to step back from the performing scene, work in the studio, and publish their music online. So, let’s talk about some of this summer’s latest additions to the scene.

First up, “EE LAA”, a song by Flipperachi and Daffy. Why am I talking about “EE LAA”? Because, you guys know Daffy from his other hit, “Samboosa”, and this summer he gave us “EE LAA”, which took over the Middle East. He put together a great campaign which revolved around people breakdancing to the song, got KIA and a whole bunch of others to sponsor, and it went viral. And thus, I cannot talk music in Kuwait without tipping my hat to them, and giving them props for their success. Here is the link to check out their music video “EE LAA”:

Another great upcoming musician that I highly recommend you check out is Mahmoud Kamel – you know, the guy who coordinated the music programs for Bayt Lothan. Since the closing down of Bayt Lothan, he seems to be concentrating more on his own music, and, because his role at Bayt Lothan was one of our main support systems as musicians in Kuwait, I think it’s only fair that we return the favor. Here is his cover of “ROXANNE” by The Police. Enjoy:

The next premiere I’d like to talk about is the album RUSH by Omar Afuni. I am really excited about this project because it is a great expression of Pop, and I know that he wrote himself, taking on, pretty much, all the work, with only 2 or 3 key people, putting out a really great body of music. You can check out his music video here, which is really cool because it pokes fun at all the generic ideas of what Pop is, and what makes a great video, and, you should just watch it, it really is worth it.

Next up, Adel Qattan’s Born Digital. I think it’s really interesting because he takes Omar Afuni, takes him out of Pop, and puts him in a whole different type of Rock world. Now, I’ve seen Adel work with Jazz, Reggae, Latin music, but Born Digital is really the expression that he loves the most. So, I’m excited for his project, and to see where it goes. Please check it out and let him know what you think.

Now, before I let you go, we need to talk. It’s about us. Yes, “us”. “You” the fans, and “us” the musicians. As I work in the music industry, I hear a lot of commentary from people and artists that there is no music scene in Kuwait. But, I believe, that in order to have a thriving music scene, there needs to be a loyal fan-base helping to build it. So it is important that you take the time to link up with these artists, because one cannot expect to have a strong music scene with fans only coming out to show their support at its prime. We are all used to being fans of a particular artist or venue, but what I am asking of you is a little bit different. I am asking you to be a fan of a scene. Go support all the musicians and the venues that you can, whether or not they hold a special place in your heart, that way, the whole music scene can feel that they are being heard and supported. Take the time to engage with these artists and comment on their social media, be friends with them. Follow their links and their performances because, even though without them there is no music, more importantly, without fans music doesn’t live, either. So, you guessed it, the scene needs you to survive. So go support local music.

Love, Music and Peace

Post by Amin FARI
Are you a musician looking to perform? On the flipside, are you a host looking for musicians to book? Or maybe you’ve just got an awesome idea you’d like to share? Get in touch aminfarilive@gmail.com / Instagram: @xxmrfarixx


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Kuwaitis in Chile

Post by Mark

The National Council of Culture, Art and Letters sent local musician Mr.Fari to Chile along with other musicians to sing as part of a program to showcase the diversity of talent in Kuwait. The video diary about is a short but entertaining film where Mr.Fari documents a day with a Kuwaiti folkloric group in Chile. [YouTube]

kuwaitisinchile


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Mr.Fari and Plastic Desert Roots

Post by Mark

amin

Mr.Fari (A.K.A Amin Fareed Abdal) is one of my favorite local artists as well as a friend of mine. I’ve posted about him on the blog a number of times before and I think he’s super talented (actually his whole family is) which is why I’m excited to share his latest project titled “Plastic Desert Roots”.

Plastic Desert Roots is a collaboration between Mr.Fari and Fabrice. Fabrice Mareau (whom I’ve also posted about before) produced and musically directed the EP to create a whole different folk reggae pop sound while Mr.Fari wrote the songs and melodies to add to the twist. Both Mr.Fari and Fabrice were raised in the Caribbean yet perform in the Middle East all the time. It seems like it was a matter of time they collaborated.

Two songs from “Plastic Desert Roots” are available to stream online for free (music video for one above) while the rest require to be purchased. Mr.Fari will also be playing the whole album on 99.7FM today from 1PM to 3PM and also explain the backstory behind each.

If you want to hear “Plastic Desert Roots” online and also purchase his music, check out his BandCamp page [Here]

To follow Mr.Fari on his social networks, check out the links below. Some lucky fans have received vinyls and also album leaks.

Mr.Fari on Facebook
Mr.Fari on Instagram
Mr.Fari on Twitter
and “mrfari” on Snapchat


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