Another installment in the excellent series on Taqwacore from my sadiqi at Tales from Bradistan.
MONDAY, 26 JULY 2010
I am the revolution and you are the revolution
In your spirit you have the power
In your heart lies the secret
From your lips spills the truth
That the wine of power is in our blood
Together we can make a revolution
Tell your comrades
I am the revolution
We are the revolution
Recently I drove over to Preston to meet two of the bands that are at the forefront of thetaqwacore scene in the USA. I already wrote about The Kominas with some thoughts about the documentary film Taqwacore: The Birth Of Punk Islam. The other band on the tour were Al Thawra (“The Revolution” in arabic) from Chicago, a group that were not given much airtime in that film but certainly deserve greater recognition.
Al Thawra are a trio but on this trip they had expanded to four members. Syrian-Polish-American Marwan Kamel sings and plays guitar; Matt Scott stood in for the absent bassist Mario Salazar; Micah Bezold was on drums; and Adam Jennings from Winters In Osakaguested by playing the sampler. (to read on…)
I’ll have some original material up next week but until then here’s another installment in the excellent series on Taqwacore from my sadiqi at Tales from Bradistan.
15 July 2010
The Kominas In Preston
After being brought over to the UK to perform at a special night at London’s prestigiousMeltdown Festival
bands from the USA The Kominas
and Al Thawra
undertook a short tour that took in half a dozen dates in England and Scotland. I travelled over toPreston
to meet them, take pictures and hear them play live.
The Kominas are one of the main bands featured in the documentary film Taqwacore: The Birth Of Punk Islam. Hailing from Boston, three of the members are of Pakistani origin and the fourth from India. On this tour they were joined by Elester Richard, a black American trumpet player who adds a different dimension to their sound.
The bands that make up this taqwacore scene are regularly described as Islamic punk. On their latest CD “Escape To Blackout Beach”, The Kominas sound more power pop than punk (although their first effort “Wild Nights In Guantanamo Bay” is quite a bit heavier). Live, they play much faster and with more energy and watching them reminds me of my misspent youth where I was seeing punk bands every week. (click here to read the rest)
Here is the trailer from the film “Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam”. Below is more from the excellent series on Taqwacore in the excellent Tales from Bradistan blog– check it out!
Taqwa - (Arabic: التقوى at-taqwá) is the Islamic concept of “God-consciousness”
Core - (from Hardcore) is a subgenre of punk rock that’s generally faster, thicker, and heavier than earlier punk rock.
As humans, we need labels in order to describe things and have some kind of order in the world we live in. However, when it comes to music, labelling can become patently absurd. It seems like every genre of music has multiple off-shoots and for the outsider it can often be totally confusing to try and work your way through a maze of descriptive names. The metal and punk scenes in particular have a bewildering number of labels – how abouthardcore, hardline, street punk, grunge, metalcore, D-Beat, post-hardcore, emo, screamo,thrashcore, grindcore, sludge metal, crust punk or even anarcho-punk?
If that’s not enough then how about desi-punk, bollywood punk, raicore or punk islam? All of these terms are real and the ones in the last sentence all fall under the taqwacore genre that is attracting a lot of attention, in particular in the USA. If I wasn’t short of time and trying to get this blog entry together then I would probably think up a few terms of my own although I’m certain that someone like the satirists Chris Morris or Armando Iannuccicould do a lot better than my efforts.
While it starts to get quite laughable with all of these often quite ridiculous labels, the taqwacore genre is definitely worthy of attention as there are some quite interesting things happening in this scene. (to read the rest, click here).
I’ve been meaning to educate myself and write something on Taqwacore but instead I’m going to repost a series starting today (July 2, 2010) on Tales from Bradistan (below). If you’re unfamiliar with Taqwacore, it is a sub-genre of punk music based on Michael Muhammad Knight‘s 2003 novel, The Taqwacores. Knight depicted a fictional Islamic punk scene in western New York State. By 2005, an actual Taqwacore scene had emerged in the U.S. with the label adopted by bands, such as The Kominas, Sagg Taqwacore Syndicate and Fedayeen.
There is not a definitive “taqwacore sound,” as artists incorporate various styles, ranging from punk to hip-hop, and musical traditions from the Muslim world; the Kominas describe their sound as “Bollywood punk”, Sagg Taqwacore Syndicate are rap and techno inspired music while Al-Thawra uses the term “raicore“, based on Arabic Raï music. (Wikipedia).
As a taster for my forthcoming piece on the American taqwacore
bands The Kominas
and Al Thawra
, here is one of the most important tunes from this emerging punk scene. This is The Kominas with the song “Sharia Law In The USA” and is particularly notable for its lyrical links to the Sex Pistols’
incendiary “Anarchy In The UK”
which shook the nation way back in 1976. Just as punks and bored youth back then were looked down upon, it is too often Muslims these days who are the easy target for the ignorant. I love the opening lines “I am an islamist, I am the anti-christ” which perfectly sum up this situation.