As one of the less conservative nations in the Persian Gulf, the Kingdom of Bahrain is home to an impressive swath of music. Traditional seafaring songs seep into metal riffs; pop rubs shoulders with jazz; and folksy troubadours tip their hats to the labor movement. Here are five acts from Bahrain that are worth a listen:
Kicked out of his school choir because the conductor didn’t like his Axl Rose-ish voice, Robert “Jungle” Jennings recouped with the glam metal stylings of Hot Laser. Citing the Darkness and Kings of Leon as influences, the four-piece also use Killers-sounding synths to liven up the party. Lead single “Narcissism” plays off like Black Flag slamming back a few cold ones with GNR.
Given that the singer answers to “Wolverine,” you know you’re in for animalistic tunes with Metaholic. Vambire’s agile guitar work has a Queens of the Stone Age kick and an Iron Maiden madness to it, while rhythm warriors Joe (drums) and Naji (bass) send temblors straight to your brain. The 2015 single “Cremation” will stupefy you.
Laborers’ rights advocate Zowayed recently penned the breezy “Hardly Hanging On (Ant Song)” in honor of Nepalese migrant workers. With Pete Seeger’s passion for the everyman and Jason Mraz’s knack for simple, appealing songwriting, this Bahraini has the potential for a big-time crossover. He has opened for the Tedeschi Trucks Band and is putting the final touches on a full-length album. (Featured image courtesy the artist)
Representing since 1980, this prog outfit formed by brothers Nabil (drums) and Mohamed Al-Sadeqi (guitar) is said to be the first Bahraini band to release a proper album. Taking cues from Genesis, Yes and Jethro Tull, their sprawling songs also adapted the traditional fidjeri narratives about pearl divers. The 1985 concept record Tales of the Divers became a standard in the genre.
Her warm alto could hypnotize the most stoic of people. “Hind” has a penchant for kahliji, a cornucopia of Arabic, Persian and Bedouin sounds. With soaring ululation, frantic strings and show-stopping flair, her brand of music has earned her hundreds of thousands of social media acolytes. She just debuted the silken “Sweeter Feeling,” which meshes elements of the ’80s, ’90s and the aughts—not to mention an enthusiastic saxophone.
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