MusicThe Arts

Five Music Bands that Rock the Middle East‏

Yeah, we’re Arab, but our music is more than just Um Kulthoum and Sami Yusef. Hopeful or blue, rapid-fire or crooning, these are the bands that have gotten the Arab youth singing along to a new wave of rock.

1. Cairokee (Egypt)

Symbolizing their synergy with the Egyptian people, Cairokee’s name brings alive the imaginary of a collective singing together in a ‘karaoke’. Deeply connected to the Egyptian youth, the band often plays their socially committed songs in public places and cultural centers.

2. Jadal (Jordan)

The band started in 2003 with a modern cover of Al Tobah, an Egyptian classic by Abdel Halim Hafez, but soon gain fame as Jordan’s pioneers of Arabic rock. Funky and enthusiastic, Jamal’s sounds challenge all genre classifications with their lively performances.

3. Alaa Wardi and Hayajan (Saudi Arabia)

Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, young Alaa Wardi formed Hayajan in 2011 together with four Jordanian musicians. Featuring a cappella singing and beatboxing, this young creative songwriter sets Youtube views on fire with every new viral release.

4. Al Farabi (Saudi Arabia) 

Named after Islamic scholar Abu Nasr Al Farabi and turning old Arab poetry into deeply touching melodies, the Saudi band resets the standard of rock in a country where rap takes over the streets and screens. Their mixing styles between alternative rock, classic piano and local instruments such as the Turkish bouzouki make it an unmissable rock alternative.

5. Wust el Balad (Egypt)

Coming from different corners across the country and dreaming of making music accessible to every Egyptian, the band’s members have long invaded the streets of Cairo with their playful beat and uplifting melodies. Oud, percussion and the Spanish guitar make of their songs a perfect blend of Egypt’s diverse origins.

Of course, there are many other bands with big names and even bigger gigs to mention, but that would need a whole separate article, which you can definitely stay tuned for!

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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