Music of Kuwait

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Tabla player Ustad Munawar Khan at the 8th International Music Festival in Kuwait

The music of Kuwait was well-recorded until the Gulf War, when Iraq invaded the country and destroyed the archive. Nevertheless, Kuwait has retained a vital music industry, both long before the war and after.[1] Kuwaiti music reflects the diverse influences of many peoples on the culture of Kuwait, including Swahili and Indian music.

Kuwait has a reputation for being the central musical influence of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Kuwaiti music is very popular in all GCC countries and even Iraq. Kuwait is known as the center for sawt, a bluesy style of music made popular in the 1970s by Shadi al Khaleej (the Bird Song of the Gulf). Nawal El Kuwaiti, Nabeel Shoail and Abdallah Al Rowaished are the most popular modern sawt performers, who include influences from techno and Europop in their music; Kuwaiti sawt musicians are well-known across the Gulf region.[1] Other popular groups include the long-running Al-Budoor Band and Guitara Band.


Traditional Kuwaiti music is mostly performed by women, with some all-female bands performing for public celebrations (most women never sang or danced in public). Simple percussion instruments, like the small mirwas drums, and clapping, along with the traditional Arabic instruments such as the oud, the kanoon and the kamaan.

Wedding songs include the Al-Fann, performed by percussionists and singers, all female, who also individually dance the Al-Khamary. Al-Sameri is another kind of wedding dance.

Al-Fareesa is a dance performed on certain national and religious holiday by women disguised as men. The dance acts out a battle between a horseman and two attackers. Other traditional dances include the men's sword dance ardah, accompanied by drums and tambourines, and the women's khamari, fann at-tanboura, fraisah, zifan and samiri dances.

"Al Arda Al Bahariya" is a well-known Kuwaiti sailor song, as are the al-Nahma, a class of songs that accompanied many sailing activities. Mawleds are recitations of sections from Muhammad's biography, chanted on religious holidays.

Liwa and Fann at-Tanbura are types of music and dance performed mainly in communities of Bantu peoples from the African Great Lakes region.


Kuwait has a reputation for being the central musical influence of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Over the last decade of satellite TV stations, there has been a stream of Kuwaiti pop bands that have been successful in reaching other Arab countries with their unique style of pop. Bashar Al Shatty is the most famous young Kuwaiti artist after his appearing in star academy the first season an he gained the second runner.

Local musicians and recent developments[edit]

Kuwait has a reputation for being a core influence for music in the GCC stands. In December 2010, Kuwait Music was founded to help musicians by "providing collaboration and promotion tools to network with and share their music".[2]


  1. ^ a b Badley, Bill. "Sounds of the Arabian Peninsula". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 351-354. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
  2. ^ "Kuwait Music". Kuwait Music. Retrieved 2013-03-17.