Has Khaleeji Pop Music Evolved?: An Interactive Lecture by Bahraini Art Platform Too Far
Bahrain-based artist-run platform Too Far has delved into the history and cultural impact of Khaleeji (Arabian Gulf) pop music through an interactive lecture.
The online lecture provides perspective on the history of Khaleeji pop, its evolution throughout the decades, and its impact on musical production as signifier of cultural identity in the Arabian Gulf. From learning about how the pearling and fishing trade helped make space for intercultural music that had borrowed and adapted from the likes of East African and South Asian rhythms, to highlighting major record companies in the region that helped to bring notable artists to their popularity, to the role of women in the production and experience of this genre, the interactive lecture uses this particular genre as a lens through which to further understand and dissect cultural values, prompting visitors to participate and share their opinions.
Selected by independent curator Munira Al Sayegh as an ongoing focus on non-profit artist-run platforms operating in the Gulf, the lecture offers a sampling of regional youth-driven synergies that collectively highlight the development and growth of creative projects that are currently operating within the Arabian Gulf. These platforms serve as a lens for which to explore the breadth and diversity of creativity happening in the region on a non-commercial and outside of institutional support scale.
Visit the full interactive lecture here, and follow Too Far on Instagram @toofarco to stay up to date with their work.
Too Far’s graphic punctuations throughout the lecture help illustrate exploratory narratives around questions such as “has Khaleeji pop been given the space and opportunity to evolve?”. Illustrations by Maryam Jamal.
Stitching together television clips from Bahrain TV 70s archives, Mashael Alsaie’s “Screentime”, presents a commentary on female visibility in television programming.
Current pop bands who find their roots in the traditions of Khaleeji Pop include Sons of Yusuf, a Kuwaiti hip-hop duo, formed by two brothers, Ya’koob and Humble Abdul, in 2012.
The lecture looks at the role record labels such as Al Natha’ir and Rotana Group have played in the regional cultural consumption of Khaleeji Pop.
Mapping historical trade routes to the evolution of Khaleeji Pop.
Founded in 2016 by Latifa Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, with the vision of championing artists and affording them opportunities for creative output in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Too Far is an artist agency and cultural producer responding to the needs of artists and art practitioners in the region. Too Far promotes artists and artworks that inform, push boundaries and showcase unique stories from the MENA region, with a special focus on the Gulf. The artist-run platform has worked on projects, exhibitions and interventions in Bahrain, Dubai, Riyadh, London, as well as online.