Chapter 1, by Kuwaisiana, is a multi-lingual blast of jovial music throughout their new nine-track release. The band are from New Orleans with roots in Kuwait, and have opened for indie acts at Gasa Gasa. They specialize in rock, reggae and funk stylings which include R&B and some jazz, with bi-lingual lyrics that take on relevant topics in today’s vastly cultural environment. Some of the songs are in English, some of them not, but they all crossover in any language.
The first half of the album is in Arabic language, kicking off with the delightful opener “Vintage (ڤِنْتِج).” This title immediately intrigues, and you want to know more about how it applies to the song before you even listen, regardless of your native tongue. If you like Zydeco, this is automatically an album for you and any roots music lovers. This comes to you straight off-of Bourbon St. in New Orleans, with the best of ‘em by a band who know their way around their instruments, as it earns its title with universal appeal. This is a no turning back point, right out of the gate on this album.
“Murra (مُرّة)” comes as no surprise with the direction the music takes. This Arabic track explores parallels between the bittersweet taste of coffee and life itself, as discovered by researching the band. It’s a spicy track with a very festive vibe, and the vocals come absolutely-alive on this. It makes good way for the next track, “Gashxi (گشِّي),” which is a whole different story but carries the same party atmosphere with more of a percussive- driven tribal dominance. The horn play really brings this over the top, and keeps you massively interested in what comes next when you hear it, and this one ends on a popping high note.
The album soldiers on with the high energy of “Gabba Barra (گبَّة بَرَّة)” making another big statement without being too obvious about it. Not exactly being inclined to know what it’s about, only having a general idea, the track is nevertheless an epic moment on this release.
“Nada (نَدى)” follows in the same musically vibrant fashion as the album is threaded with from song to song. The vocals are vastly more comprehensive as they compliment the melody and manage to keep a smile on your face as they command your attention with a minimum of fuss and bother.
The album changes in languages on the second half starting with “Virgin,” to switch gears without missing a note in the process. This is another fantastic track with that jazzy feel which can’t be denied its presence in the set, without being jazz in any hardcore sense. Much use of horns proves it on this and other songs. This is a tune about being ambushed by our nature, as where the next one is a ballad about the negative factors surrounding patriarchy on “Men In Power” which starts out dark but musically lightens up as it goes, with zydeco being the main genre and some great playing is featured.
“The Journalist” and “Say Yea” close the album in perfect unison for an overall contrast at the end of a great release that resonates well among so many in 2018 that don’t have such diverse content.