Kuwaiti artist +Aziz preps new record with his US-based band

Plus Aziz formed Kuwaisiana four years ago. (Supplied)
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Updated 30 July 2020

Kuwaiti artist +Aziz preps new record with his US-based band

MANAMA: Traversing cultural boundaries, social commentary and musical exploration, a Kuwaiti artist is creating a new vision of Arab and Khaleeji music can be seen.

Plus Aziz (stylized as +Aziz) formed Kuwaisiana four years ago when he decided to leave his brand strategy job in New York (where he had been based since 2009) and relocate to New Orleans to focus on his music career.

Kuwaisiana (a combination of the words Kuwait and Louisiana) mixes elements of funk, rock and reggae with evocative poetic lyrics about the day-to-day lives of Arab-American youth and the evolving viewpoint of Khaleejis living in the Arabian Peninsula.

“It’s an expression of us all working together as a band,” Aziz told Arab News of the band’s upcoming five-track record. “We’re at the mastering stage now, all the layers are fixed and we’re looking for someone to give it that last polish.”

Kuwaisiana’s debut record, “Chapter 1,” was released in 2018 and was followed by a US tour. The album – and band – were well-received, prompting Aziz to invest further time and energy into developing the project. The band will release the new record independently, after having a digital distribution deal with Universal MENA for their previous one.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Guwwa قوة ⚡️ Livestream from The Nest504 (5.23.2020) It‘s basically tradition for us to get bad weather during high-stakes gigs - whatever the derailment, the fundamentals are always the same: your number 1 job is and always will be to be present and develop your community. To do this, you have to be in tune with your energy & get into your flow state regardless of who’s watching and what’s happening around you. Stay strong and focus on what matters LYRICS VI تصوّر نفسك واقف واقف على الحفّة حفّة بلكونة بهامش احلامك الحق وكل ربعه ما ينزعل منهم استخلص لي حكمة من غلطة سوّيتها. لمعة بعين رفيجي ودّه يقنعني آمن في مستقبل أطيب من الحاضر نگعني بالعدالة ادوّر على منارة مدلي واير بارقة امل CH I يا چذّاب يا نصّاب ضاع ضميرك ما سامحناك مناسبة إعتذار قوة سلام قوة Goodbye VII Lead me with your beacon Take me to the finish. Trust is what I’m seeking Tough to replenish. Dig into the future Good ol days burn to waste. Throw them out the window Help me rebuild my love CH2 ملك الغابة طاح سوقه، انكسر شفت جثة استنكار قوة سلام قوة Goodbye BRIDGE يا ويل يا ويل يا قوم يا قوم حرقت جسور عميقة حرقت جذور مرموقة يا فساد يا صغيرون dangling from a balloon ندمان Adorable, deplorable, طلعت اخرطي يا مخرّب, حقّكِ علي رحنا فيها CH 3 ملك الغابة طاح حظّه انتهى مصخرة بين الناس قوة سلام قوة چذّاب

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‘Chapter 2,’ according to the 37-year-old singer-songwriter, will feature a less dramatic range of genres. “The first record was genre-hopping,” he said. “At the time I didn’t care about history or cultural context, it was more about presenting the songs we had as best we could. With the second release there’s a bit more sifting and refining the Kuwaisiana sound.”

When it came to writing and recording the new material, Aziz said he took a more calculated and structured approach, not only with the subjects and music, but also in involving the band members more in the process.

“I do believe it lives up to being a follow-up to our debut in terms of looking at this cross-cultural aspect. Right now, due to what I’ve been focusing on, it is skewing a bit too much to the Khaleeji side, so we’re trying to bring it back to the middle where there’s more second line and New Orleans jazz,” Aziz explained.

‘Chapter 2’ is set for release this fall.


Top trends for next spring from global fashion weeks

Updated 8 min 3 sec ago

Top trends for next spring from global fashion weeks

  • Six of the hottest tips from the catwalks (virtual or otherwise) of fashion month

MILAN: Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the international fashion weeks in New York, Paris, London and Milan recently were a mix of physical shows and digital presentations. And it wasn’t just the events themselves that were affected by the coronavirus — many designers from around the world showed collections that were clearly influenced by social-distancing and lockdown, in often-contradictory ways. Whether that was the somber color palette of Simone Rocha in London, the face coverings and gloves that dominated several shows, or the more subtle nods to our ‘interesting times’ through the DIY vibe of crochet (Alberta Ferretti, for instance), the unexpected return of the sweatsuit (particularly predominant in New York Fashion Week), and the aspirational glamour of flamboyance and glitter. Tom Ford, who presented his Spring ’21 lookbook via video, provided plenty of the latter and suggested it was because he wanted to present clothes that “make us feel good” and hold out “hope of a happier time.” A sentiment that — regardless how you felt about his sequin-usage — was hard to find fault with.

MAKE IT MONOCHROME

Some designers — Molly Goddard in London, Salvatore Ferragamo in Milan — went bright, others were more muted — Max Mara’s sand and beige, say — and some were both — Boss in Milan, with shocking pink, cream, and sand examples. But they all seemed to agree that single-color clothing will be en vogue in spring next year. It’s bold and confident, certainly, and hopefully reflects how consumers might be feeling by the end of the winter.

CLASH CULTURE

If monochrome isn’t your thing, maybe you’ll feel more at home with another major — almost opposite — trend that saw many designers stamping all over conventional fashion wisdom. Cardinal sins were everywhere: Mixing colors that ‘shouldn’t’ be mixed (Pucci’s multi-colored tights), pairing patterns that shouldn’t be paired (stripes and squares!), throwing in animal prints willy-nilly, or, like Sunnei, constructing a shirt dress from four different plaid patterns. It was chaos, and all the better for it

GO BIG

Oversized clothing was everywhere in fashion month. Boss (again) had large sporty jackets in its Tik-Tok-streamed show; Louis Vuitton’s Paris show displayed a largely asexual collection — plenty of oversized jackets and blazers, along with ‘roomy’ pants; and Chloé paired voluminous blouses with high-waisted shorts and trousers. And mammoth handbags were ubiquitous throughout the month. Some observers suggested the super-sized clothes encouraged/forced those around to grant the wearer more personal space in these socially distanced times, others saw them as a throwback to Eighties power dressing. Either way, big is in.

ENCOURAGING ESCAPISM 

From Tom Ford’s aforementioned sparkly sequins in New York to Molly Goddard’s dazzling A-line dresses in London via the floral prints beloved by Loewe in Paris and Valentino and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini in Milan (the latter put on an open-air show, whether because of COVID or because flowers were such a dominant motif we’re not sure), many designers were clearly aiming to lift our collective spirits with a healthy dose of bright, bright beauty. And who could blame them?

HOT HISTORY 

For the last couple of years, retro fashion has been dominated by Eighties and Nineties throwbacks. If Simone Rocha and Erdem, to name but two, are to be believed, we’ll be looking a little further back for spring 2021 — almost 100 years further back. Rocha’s understated collection showed clear Victorian and Edwardian influences with its puffy sleeves, voluminous skirts and high necklines, while Erdem’s dramatic collection also pulled from Ye Olde Worlde, but somehow managed to seem more up-to-date than anyone.

PIMP YOUR PPE

Whether the non-medical-grade facemasks (see Oak & Acorn, Rick Owens) or other face coverings (Chanel’s veils or Paco Rabanne’s sequined hoods) and gloves (Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini’s rubber gardening gloves or Fendi’s bodysuits with attached gloves) are really what designers believe we’ll want to be wearing in the spring or simply a recognition of the current global situation it’s hard to say. But they were certainly impossible to ignore.