Will freedom to express through music ever be embraced in Kuwait?
Published on March 27th, 2012 | by Caesar (Kuwait Music)
2012 has started off with some promising developments in Kuwait’s music industry. With the BBC having come to Kuwait to do a feature on the music industry, initiatives such as BLEND and Acoustica having birthed, a plethora of music events popping up around the country, and Kuwait Music being at the core of all of this, many see this year as one of hope for the music industry in Kuwait. But with the new leadership of the country making moves that don’t exactly support a thriving music ecosystem, are we really headed toward a lively music scene for the country….? Or are we just living in delusion?
Living in a state of contradictory opposition
Since December 2010 when Kuwait Music went online, more people in Kuwait are aware, knowledgeable and picky about Bands, DJ’s and artists that they have at their disposal. This is a good thing because it creates connections and collaborations between regular people and musicians. Recently, Ali Sleeq founded a new project “Avant-Garde” which has grown in popularity due to its ‘forum’ style band and musician setup.
On the other side of the coin however, another music project initiative has yet to come off the ground due to outlandish reasoning from management over a music event. See details here >>
Censorship and the swirl of the pen
Music Master, a leading distributor for record labels pulled out of Kuwait due to censorship woes recently, and this has dealt a big dent in the music industry here. The company sells into some 50 stores across Kuwait, but said it had struggled to maintain sales in the face of strict rules on album artwork and lyrics that shut some artists out of the market. Even the freedom of the press ranking for Kuwait has dropped from 115th in 2010 to 124th place in 2011. Things aren’t getting better.
Watch the BBC feature done on Kuwait Music, Avant – Garde and censorship
What the internet community thinks
Even Mark at 248am.com posted about the video above and it sparked a heated debate on Islamist mentality vs liberal thinking. The thread includes everything from discussions on alcohol, to freedom of speech, to why music should not be allowed in Kuwait at public events. A wry testament of the state of contradictory mentality in Kuwait. See the post here >>
So what does this mean for musicians?
The cancellation of events, banning of CD’s, stricter censorship laws and a leadership that is not exactly trying to make Kuwait more forthcoming to the world’s developments, means that musicians can only hope. Hope for divine intervention, or maybe just intervention of any kind. Only time will tell.