Don’t miss ‘For Art and the Earth’ #hadathalarth

Posted by Mark


[YouTube]

Tonight is the last night to attend the For Art and the Earth event that is taking place at the Kuwait National Museum. I passed by last night to watch it but got there late so missed a few of the opening acts. The event is a journey that starts off in one hall of the Kuwait National Museum were artists like Sons of Yusef and Zahed Sultan perform before the crowd is moved outdoors from location to location to watch various performances take place around the museum grounds. The video above is of one of the stages of the event. So try to pass by tonight, for more information click [Here]


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38 comments, add your own...


  1. Ali Sleeq says:

    There’s also Nawaf Gheraibah’s concert (I am on the bass).

  2. jiminy says:

    slightly on and off topic – why is it only some bands are allowed to thrive and survive in Kuwait (cough cough local)
    while others are prevented from even having a place to perform.

    This whole arts and music thing in Kuwait is becoming so fucking elitist it’s ridiculous.

    Not putting down the bands themselves – but DEFINITELY the institutions that choose who to support and who to ignore. It’s like Kuwait even robs music and art of the its soul and makes it ‘trendy’

    • Mark says:

      Do you have a situation where a non Kuwaiti band was prevented in performing?

    • S says:

      You can’t put down institutions like the NCCAL for their choices on whom to support, it is a governmental body. They have EVERY right to incentivize their own, that’s why they exist. You are mad at an apple tree for bearing apples and you are making the case for oranges.

      I don’t music in Kuwait is as elitist as you think it is. Nawaf has some lovely expats in his group. I think talent makes room for itself.

  3. jiminy says:

    yep plenty – although each situation is different. For instance one of the crowd favourite bands at a Bayth Lothan night in were not called back to perform and the regulars (the guys who have an ‘in’) still perform being mostly western and Kuwaiti. Of course I don’t have hard stats or anything like that.

    But the bulk of musicians in Kuwait are non Kuwaiti – the very fact that these Kuwaiti bands are popping up all over the place (again nothing against them some of them are nothing short of fantastic) and expat bands are not even being features is just clique-iness and its becoming typical of this culture.

    Also there hasn’t been any real support of music in Kuwait from any entity. Bayth Lothan sure has a night in, but as far as I know, don’t pay any musicians and charge every attendee. As much as they’d like to use the words non profit, that is just exploitation. I’ve worked in companies that set up for similar events in Kuwait and I can tell you that even after their setup and snacks, they can afford to pay musicians. that’s not support of music, that’s elitism at its finest.

    Of course then there are isolated incidents of police coming into expat gatherings and stopping live music, throwing people’s guitars when ppl are jamming on the beach (happened personally AND on at least 3 other occassions with asian people I know)… basically if you have the wastha, or are located in a ‘wastha’ covered area, you are fine but otherwise it ain’t happening. And unfortunately the wastha covered areas have no interest in music for the sake of music… or in fact art or writing for its own sake. It’s all become ridiculously elitist. Destroys what music and art are supposed to be for in the first place

    • Mark says:

      Well I can’t talk about other events but this specific one featured very established and popular Kuwaiti musicians, neither of which “popped up” out of the blue.

      • jiminy says:

        probably true, and probably awesome artists as well. But they will not have had to face the stigma of having to be afraid of how the law views them… which is why they have the opportunity to practice, grow, thrive and perform. Good for them – just saying it should be like that for everyone and the VENUES – and so called benefactors of the arts in Kuwait, are the biggest obstacle.

  4. jiminy says:

    the crowd favourites were all Indian and were the positively responded to by the audience btw. Can I prove that? well you’d need ppl from the crowd to corroborate that.

    • Mathai says:

      @jiminy

      The key is to have it in ‘wasta covered’ areas. I attended one event last year which was held very quietly and discretely indoors(even though the weather was perfect) since the organizers were afraid they’d get busted for playing rock music.

      • jiminy says:

        yep – sadly this is the case for all non elitist music – barely surviving. There is a highly skilled underground music scene in Kuwait, but all the wallets go to the other stuff and there’s a lot of ‘oooh’ ‘mashallah’ etc etc.

        Again – excellent Kuwaiti musicians – but the rest of us don’t have the privilege and connections to make music happen – even though a lot of other musicians are just as skilled if not more so.

        • Mark says:

          where were they when kuwait music was trying to do something for them?

          • jiminy says:

            interesting you should ask that. Just cus Kuwait Music was doing something doesn’t mean the venues were helping any. Sure maybe Kuwait Music helped everyone get a decent amount of exposure – but the venues still picked and chose who they liked. which meant Kuwaitis and Westerners.

            ON kuwait music though, everyone seemed to be getting along swimmingly

  5. David says:

    Really enjoyed the event. That Zahed Sultan performance behind the screen (I’m presuming that was him) was the highlight for me, though I imagine for most it was the inflatable horses. Has anyone got a complete video of the former? Wouldn’t mind watching that again.

  6. Sarj says:

    @jiminy

    That’s the same BS that Kuwait Music used to post every other week. Proof: http://kuwait-music.com/articles-opinion/2013/01/performers-in-kuwait-and-the-great-divide

    Not paying an artist/band is being elitist? Do you even know the meaning of the word that you’re throwing around? It’s not elitism, it’s greed and lack of appreciation that leads to organizers and venues (like Bayt Lothan) exploiting their performers. If the artists/bands have a talk with the organizers and venues to sort out some kind of payment for their performance, they’ll definitely get paid. Usually the artists/bands are just so excited to play a gig that the thought of getting paid for it doesn’t even cross their minds.

    A lot of factors come into play when you’re trying to score a gig, e.g. your act/set-list, your reputation, the professionalism of your performance, your rapport with the organizers and venues etc. The color of your skin or the country on your passport is not a deciding factor in these situations. Yes it’s difficult to organize or play a gig in Kuwait but if people can find a way to do it in countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran then there’s clearly something wrong with your approach. You can’t blame others for your failures.

    You being all upset about this Earth Day event reveals your true nature. You’re not happy that local artists/bands are performing and are in the media spotlight, you’re jealous that YOUR band (or a band you worship) isn’t.

    Bottom line…

    Take your head out of your rear end and smell the real world. There’s no preferential treatment or an “elite club” where only Kuwaitis and Western Expats get to perform. It’s people like you who create “cliques” out of your own paranoia and victim mentality. You’re just cooking up conspiracy theories to satisfy your own delusions.

    • Mark says:

      When I was in London my friends went and performed at a bar… for free, and they loved it. They loved it so much they’re now going once a month to perform at that bar.

      It has nothing to do with people in Kuwait not paying artists, its the same elsewhere. Artists don’t make money.

      • Sarj says:

        That’s exactly my point. I’ve been playing gigs since 1999 and I hardly ever got paid, just twice or thrice. Some of those gigs included high profile venues like Virgin Megastores (5 nights in a row, no pay), Camp Arifjaan (they paid for the sound rig, that’s it) etc.

        There were many gigs that we ended up paying to play, because we organized our gigs and that means paying for the venue, sound rig, tickets etc.

      • jiminy says:

        Mark not true – in London there is equal opportunity to get paid. But you can also play for free.

        And I lived in London for years and years as part of an arts community so I have disagree – yes you struggle, but you still get paid if you take it seriously.

        • Mark says:

          Equal opportunity to get paid? Yeah if you’re a professional maybe. We’re not talking about professionals who do this for a living, we’re talking about friends jamming together for fun and places like Bayt Lothan are allowing guys to do that with their music nights. Same in London, lots of places don’t pay artists but instead give them a venue to jam in front of an audience with hopes of getting discovered.

          If you want to get paid in kuwait you can like any other country if you find a place that is willing to. Maybe instead of blaming nationality as the reason for bands not getting gigs maybe it’s just the fact they’re not good or the style doesn’t fit with the place.

          • jiminy says:

            Mark I have to respectfully disagree – in the Camden area it is actually EASY to get a paid gig if you are half decent and that’s already the famous part of town – had a friend in my college who played there once in a while. several venues in Soho has hosted amateur bands numerous times – the work on the principle that if you can sell tickets, the band gets a cut.

            A bunch of mates used to play at the Good Ship in Kilburn and they were just a regular bunch of guys with average skill- playing in a pub that has hosted some famous live acts. All got paid I can literally LIST the pubs, the areas the bands and you could do the research on whether they are professional or not.

            By the way you should note that my argument is not that Bayth Lothan are not paying musicians a LOT – nobody is asking for that.

            they are not getting paid anything… that’s my point. I mean 5 KD per musician is not going to break the bank but at least it’s appreciation and support of a music industry.

    • jiminy says:

      Man you’re an angry aggressive guy aren’t you? I guess if it makes you feel big to insult people you don’t know on the net then by all means, do what works for you.

      But do give what I said another read … I took pains to say that the bands that ARE up there are really good – I have no jealousy when it comes to them. I don’t play in a band btw. – and my problem (as previously stated) is with the supporting institutions. but I guess you read everything I said with a tone – the same tone you seem to have in your message. calm down, calm down my friend … not everyone is trying to have a fight with you yknow.

      Yes I know the meanings of the words I use – thank you for asking. Elitism is the one I stand by. Also I know of at least a couple of cases where the bands performing asked about payment and were told ‘oh we are a non profit, we use the costs in setup’

      So I’m not talking out my ass. I have no doubt that there are some artists who are too excited to ask – but that’s not everyone.

      Also I wasn’t upset about Earth Day – not sure where you are getting all your imagined subtext from. You know that all this angst is bad for your blood pressure right?

      • Sarj says:

        “This whole arts and music thing in Kuwait is becoming so fucking elitist it’s ridiculous. Not putting down the bands themselves – but DEFINITELY the institutions that choose who to support and who to ignore. It’s like Kuwait even robs music and art of the its soul and makes it ‘trendy’”

        What tone were you going for there?

        “Also I wasn’t upset about Earth Day – not sure where you are getting all your imagined subtext from.”

        Go read your first comment.

        • jiminy says:

          i did. Pretty sure you’re reading it wrong. Besides I didn’t attend the event, not sure how you would expect me to have an opinion positive or negative about it.

  7. jiminy says:

    Also – just read through the article. Couldn’t find one thing I disagree with. I guess I’m not the only one that’s noticed.

    • Sarj says:

      Of course you’re not going to find anything to disagree with Nabeel! After all, you have a partnership with Kuwait Music.

    • Mark says:

      I would read the comments, the ones from Dejan specifically is evidence that some bands not being hired or invited to play or participate have nothing to do with nationality. The only time he seems to have faced discrimination was from the expat events.

  8. jiminy says:

    Also – just read through the article. Couldn’t find one thing I disagree with. I guess I’m not the only one that’s noticed.

  9. Ali Sleeq says:

    As someone who has been in Kuwait music scene for a while, and was also on the Kuwait Music bandwagon before it went kaput, the music scene here IS biased and as long as you are in the ‘inner circle’ you will most probably be excluded from events.

    I also no longer deal with Bayt Lothan, for other reasons. If you remember the Blend Music Fests I made:

    http://speaktheblues.blogspot.com/2012/02/blend-music-festival-final-details.html

    http://speaktheblues.blogspot.com/2012/03/blend-music-festival-2-announced.html

    It all started out in good spirit but then when the politics came in to play (as usual) the spirit was killed.

  10. Sarj says:

    I would like to point out that most of the gigs that my band performed at were organized by my uncle, who is also the bassist in the band, and he’s an Indian. He’s been organizing events since the 80′s so he knows how to approach venues and get things done.

    Last year, he organized the 70′s Rock event at The British School of Kuwait and it was a huge success. This is proof that ANYBODY can organize events and perform in them, regardless of nationality.

    Like I said earlier, if you’re having problems organizing events or performing in one then there’s something wrong with you.

  11. Tazz says:

    Hey Sarj

    I missed this show but was there for Samsara and for everyone following this post, one of the highlights in Samsara show was a song in Hindi by a very talented young Indian female. What racism?!

    There’s no racism with musicians here. I’ve worked with multi-national musicians, never heard anything like what’s being debated. The crowd as well, they just come to watch a good live concert. Yes, bands do work in small clusters, and we all go and watch the other groupie shows- it’s all good here..

    As for as problems doing shows- any country has rules to follow, so here too.


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