Wednesday, August 13, 2008

what else? a couple more kufiyaspottings (plus turbans)

People keep sending me this stuff. So here goes...

#1. The Akshay Kumar and Snoop Dogg video, "Singh Is Kinng." Kumar can be spotted sporting the kufiya, draped around his neck like a scarf, several times throughout the video. (Thanks, Rachel.)

Why in the world is a Bollywood movie star wearing a kufiya?--particularly when he is also wearing a turban, since he's playing the part of Lakhan Singh, a Sikh, which he plays in the film, Singh is Kinng. Is it because Singh is the king of the gangstas in Australia? Is it just international style? Or, since he's on screen with Snoop Dogg, is Kumar trying to look more hip-hop? Who knows?

"Singh Is Kinng" is a bhangra song, composed by the UK bhangra band RDB, but it's not terribly clever. Such hip-hop/bhangra collaborations seem to be getting more and more common, and there are lots of better ones. Jay-Z's collabo with Punjabi MC on "Beware" seems to have started the trend. Go here for more hip-hop/bhangra downloads.

#2. I found this video on the page of the band, Rainbow Arabia. It's one of their "influences," and it's a video that goes along with the performance of "Palmitos Park" by El Guincho. The kufiya shows up right away, as kind of table cloth, with colored feathers on it. The kufiya and the feathers show up several times, each time looking more psychedelic. It's a very "conceptual" video, by Will Bryant. Who knows why the kufiya is there. El Guincho is a Spanish musician whose music has been described as "space-age exotica."

As for Rainbow Arabia, it is a kind of exoticizing experimental band. Their press packet describes them as combining Middle Eastern flavors with American experimental dance music, according to a review of their first release by Pitchfork. (Thanks to Dave for turning me on to them.)

And catch this, the Pitchfork review actually says that the band has a "keffiyeh-fied aesthetic"!

I've not heard Basta, the EP in question. (It doesn't seem to be available for download on any sites I know.) But if you check out the band's webpage, you can listen to three of their songs. Only one of them, "Tiny Tiny Man," has a hint of "Middle Eastern" influence--the sound of the derbouka.

Not really sure how "keffiyeh-fied" their aesthetic is. It's definitely exotica. I'll let you know if/when I find out.

(Oh, and be sure to check out the 4th video of their "influences"--the completely amazing Syrian singer, Omar Souleyman.)

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