Last Night(s) of the Proms

Posted by Mark

Last night I attended “Last Night(s) of the Proms” by the Ahmadi Music Group which was held at the British Embassy. It was my first time attending an event by the Ahmadi Music Group and I left not only impressed but the first thing I did once I got back home was to try to sign up to their mailing list (it’s not working) so I would be informed on all their upcoming events.

The event was held outdoors inside the British Embassy where a stage and seating area were beautifully set up in their garden. The Ahmadi Music Group last night consisted of 46 members of the orchestra performing alongside 79 members of the choir so the stage was pretty packed. The conductor Richard Bushman did an incredible job introducing every piece to the audience before it was played explaining what we were going to hear and why it was important. He was very entertaining to listen to and I think he helped make the event more accessible to people like me who don’t know much about operas or orchestras. My only criticism would have to be with the sound setup. The majority of the sound was coming from one speaker on the right side in back which made the whole thing uncomfortable to watch.

Next year will be the Ahmadi Music Group 60 year anniversary which is an incredible accomplishment. I would have posted about this event ahead of time but a friend got me my ticket while I was in London and I honestly only found out what I was there to watch as I was walking into the embassy. I will be posting about their future events from now on and here is a list of their upcoming events that was listed at the back of yesterdays program:

December 6, 7: Family Seasonal Concert
February 20, 21, 22: George Frideric Handel, Acis and Galatea
April 10, 11, 12: Gloria! Music by Vivaldi, Mozart and Rutter

For more information on the Ahmadi Music Group and their events, check out their website [Here]

Note: No cameras or electronics were allowed into the embassy so the pictures above are from their 2012 performance.


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From YouTube to Arabs Got Talent

Posted by Mark


[YouTube]

I saw the video above of the “Sheyaab” performing at Arabs Got Talent on 7ajidude and I recognized them as the people who were dressing up like old men and going around Kuwait dancing Gangnam Style.


[YouTube]

Their videos were going viral and I guess they decided to take what they were doing and perform it on Arabs Got Talent. Smart although if I hear Gangnam Style playing one more time I’m going to go on a rampage.


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“Now’s the Time” by Sons Of Yusuf

Posted by Mark

Local rappers Sons Of Yusuf have released a new music video called “Now’s the Time”. Their video “Arabs in Paris” is still my favorite one of theirs. [Vimeo]


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Samsara Rehearsals

Posted by Mark

I honestly have no clue what this is, but I can’t help but feel very intrigued. It sounds beautiful. [Vimeo]

Update: Turns out Samsara is a concert taking place next month at GUST. The below is from the Samsara Facebook page:

Please join us this November for Nawaf Gheraibah’s Samsara; A night of live music under the stars, featuring a talented orchestra of musicians and vocalists; Wednesday 13th November, 8PM @ GUST University Amphitheatre, Mishref.

The show is free of charge & invitations will be available for pick up ten days prior to the concert.


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Musician Yousef Al-Haddad

Posted by Mark


[YouTube]

Yousef Al-Haddad is a Kuwaiti musician who lives in the States. He plays a bunch of instruments but guitar is his main thing. He graduated from University of Southern California back in 2009 and now lives and works in Santa Monica. He basically works at Trader Joe’s and plays his guitar all day. I’ve watched a bunch of his videos and I think he’s extremely entertaining to watch and listen to. For example in the video above he talks with a Jamaican accent and sings Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”.

Below are two more videos I liked but you can check out all his other videos on [YouTube] as well as a few tracks on [Soundcloud]


[YouTube]


[YouTube]


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Arab Times drew some pants on Miley

Posted by Mark


[Source]

At least the color matches with her backup dancers.

Thanks Ahmed via


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Break Free by Bandaid

Posted by Mark

Bandaid is a local country/rock band composed of medical students including Kuwait country musician Ibrahim Al-Mazeedi whom I first posted about back in 2010. He’s come a lonngggg way since then since their single Break Free is actually pretty good, check it out. [YouTube]

Follow them on twitter @bandaidq8


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Goodbye Ramadan

Posted by Mark

RMDN by +Aziz, a Kuwaiti songwriter living in New York. [Vimeo]


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Haitham Al-Ghareeb, a Kuwaiti violin maker

Posted by Mark

Last night I passed by and met Haitham Al-Ghareeb, a local violin maker. We met at his small cozy workshop in Rawda located right outside his home. When you walk into his dimly lit workshop you’ll see a small diwaniya on the left with around a dozen violins hanging on the wall, while on the right hand side is his workstation where he crafts all his violins. He filled a kettle with water and put it on a small electric stove next to him and we started talking.

Back in 2000, Haitham was a oud player but was interested in getting into violins. He started looking for a good violin to buy in Kuwait but he couldn’t find any. Most of the violins available in the market back then were of poor quality from low end brands. That’s why Haitham decided to make his own violin using documents and instructions he found online.

Haitham hadn’t crafted any musical instruments before, he had dabbled with some minor oud repair but nothing major. This got me even more curious, how can a 25 year old with no previous woodworking skills be able to craft such a delicate instrument as a violin? Well the answer I believe might be in his genes. Haitham’s father, grand father and great grand father were all dhow builders. Woodworking had existed in his family for generations and it was just natural for him to be good at it.

Haitham’s first violin wasn’t flawless, it had mistakes and was made using locally sourced wood but yet the sound it produced to his ears was beautiful. This encouraged him to build a second better violin with imported tonewood (wood cut specifically for musical instruments). He started frequenting forums and participating in online communities where other violin craftsmen from around the world would share their tips and techniques. His violins kept improving with every build and soon he had his own tips and tricks to share with the community. He loved crafting violins so much that he quickly forgot about wanting to play them. He became obsessed in building and perfecting his own creations.

When Haitham first started making violins he was spending 4 hours a day working on them and each violin would take around 2 months to complete. Nowadays he’s too busy with work and family so it takes him around 9 months to complete a single violin. But he’s fine with that. He never started making violins with the intention to turning it into a profitable business. Even his prices have remained the same over the years even though his violins kept getting better and demand for them kept increasing. He just loves making violins and isn’t interested in expanding. It’s a hobby he’s just really good at. He also does a lot of repair work on violins which to many musicians is a lifesaver. Musicians bond with their instruments and having a local violin maker means that a damaged violin no longer needs to be discarded but instead can be repaired. Only two of the violins hanging on the wall were his, the rest were either in for repair or were being sold by other musicians.

Once we were done with the interview, Haitham served us some tea. Throughout the whole interview which lasted around 40 minutes I had watched him make us the tea using two kettles, a can filled with what I assume is tea leaves and a box filled with I don’t know what. He then skillfully poured the tea from the large kettle into three glasses that were sitting amongst a dozen on the table in front of us. The tea was delicious and to me summarized the kind of person that Haitham is, a perfectionist.

If you’d like to contact Haitham for any reason you can do so by emailing him on hghareeb.koc@gmail.com


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Dance circle at Marina Waves

Posted by Mark

Video kinda drags but gets a lot more interesting at the 8:22 mark specially once the traditional Kuwaiti dancing meets breakdancing. [YouTube]


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