Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their successful project - providing a fascinating taste of history and an inspirational look towards the future.
The launch of debut album “Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis” in 2011 was an important milestone for Israeli music and Dudu Tassa’s career. The album presented a compelling new sound based on the music of Saleh and Daoud Al-Kuwaiti, Tassa’s grandfather and great-uncle, who were among the greatest musicians in Iraq and the entire arab world.The project debut presented contemporary arrangements by Tassa and musical partner Nir Maimon to original songs by the Al-Kuwaiti Brothers, who are considered to be the founders of modern Iraqi music. This highly innovative album received critical acclaim, winning the prestigious ACUM award for 2011 and continuing to meet enthusiasm worldwide to this day.
The recording process for the album was documented for the film “Iraq‘n’Roll” (2011), a successful documentary that tells the story behind Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis, and has been screened around the globe. The project was hailed in many countries worldwide, including in the regions of Iraq and Kuwait.
Dudu Tassa researched his family’s roots and discovered an incredible musical tale. Tassa is the grandson of Kuwaiti musician Daoud Al-Kuwaity, whose collaboration with brother Saleh (as the ‘Al-Kuwaiti Brothers’) was made famous in the arab world between 1930-1950. The Al-Kuwaiti Brothers were among Baghdad’s best known composers and musicians in the first half of the 20th century, and were considered innovators of Iraqi music, leading them to found Baghdad’s Radio Orchestra. The pair was among the Iraqi king’s favourite acts, worked alongside greats such as Abd el Wahab and Oum Kalthum, and performed in an array of palaces and stadiums. Their music remains popular in the arab world to this day. Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein banned the brothers’ music when he discovered their Jewish origin. In 1950 the Al-Kuwaiti brothers immigrated to Israel and their lifestyle went through major changes, selling houseware in a market during the day and playing their music in private, performing at the occasional wedding or event.
Tassa, who grew up after his grandfather’s death, listened to hundreds of Al-Kuwaiti compositions on old records and tapes owned by his mother. He began to select pieces that he felt could be updated with a modern twist, and combined with his own musical style. The project’s first two releases were “Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis” (2011), and “Ala Shawati” (2015).
2019 saw the release of the project’s third album “El Hajar”. The release was ranked #18 for 2019 on the WMCE chart (out of 764 releases).
All three albums were produced by Tassa and his musical partner Nir Maimon, and are a salute to the Al-Kuwaiti legacy, breathing new life into their music and blending Iraqi and Middle Eastern music with Rock in a unique and exciting way. All songs were recorded in the original Iraqi arabic, which Tassa learned especially for the project.
The project’s releases host a wide range of vocalists and musicians, both Jewish and Arab, from Israel and Iraq, including: Ismael Fadel, Ninet Tayeb, Berry Sakharof, Yehudit Ravitz, Riff Cohen, Yair Dalal and many others, all singing the original lyrics in the Iraqi tongue. These new adaptations manage to conserve the charm and magic of the original pieces while simultaneously giving them new interpretations that melt the boundaries of time and borders, painting them in fresh colors.
Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis opened for Radiohead during their USA tour in 2017, and have performed at several prestigious festivals and events around the globe such as: Coachella, WOMEX, Sziget, Ostrava, Babelmed, SXSW and more.