Israeli-Iraqi musician Dudu Tassa begins his North American your today with a concert in Vancouver. With his band, The Kuwatis, Dudu Tassa performs a mix of pop, rock and Arabic music inspired two Iraqi-Jewish composers, his grandfather and his great-uncle, Daoud and Saleh Al Kuwaiti.
Although Dudu Tassa was originally involved with Israeli pop music, everything changed when he transformed a traditional song the Al Kuwaiti Brothers had performed and re-worked it for a film soundtrack. He updated it, bringing in guitars, bass and drums.
“It was interesting to do,” Tassa recalls. “I was ready for something new. I was bored with Israeli pop music. And this struck something in me. I asked my mom for recordings of her father and I went to Israel radio to see what they had. Honestly, it wasn’t easy to listen to them – my ears weren’t used to such sad music and the melodies were difficult.”
Ultimately, he listened to over 200 pieces of music by the brothers for his Al Kuwaiti project. His choices turned out to be pieces he knew. “I connected to those songs my mother sang when I was a child. I’d listen and I knew them I picked songs that I thought I could take to the West, where I could imagine harmonies in the music.”
The result was the album titled Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis. “I was afraid. I didn’t know how people would feel. This is a very sensitive place. But at the same time, so many here came from all over the Middle East – my father is Yemeni. But all the papers wrote about it. They liked it. And Israeli Army Radio, the biggest station in the country, played it a lot.”
03/09 Vancouver, BC – Vancouver FanClub
03/12 New York, NY – Jewish Heritage Museum
03/13 Boston, MA -Johnny D’s
03/15 Austin, TX – SXSW
03/20 San Francisco, CA – Yoshi’s
03/22 New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge