The Kominas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Kominas
The Taqwa Tour 2007 in Chicago - Flickr - Eye Steel Film.jpg
Background information
Origin Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Genres Punk rock, taqwacore, funk, alternative
Years active 2004–present
Labels Independent
Members Basim Usmani
Hassan Ali Malik
Shahjehan Khan
Karna Ray
Past members Arjun Ray
Imran Ali Malik
Abdullah Saeed

The Kominas are a punk-rock band formed in 2005 by Pakistani-Americans living in Boston. They rose to cultural prominence for progressing the genre of Muslim Punk in the United States, sometimes referred to as Taqwacore. Their dance-oriented sound characteristically blends 1977 punk stylings, with influences from psychedelic rock from around the world (like Turkey and Iran), Punjabi folk music, surf rock, reggae, disco and dub. Their songs are often self-referential and situationalist, often challenging listeners to re-evaluate their assumptions of what it means to be American, or Muslim, or punk.[1][2][3]


In 2005, with the release of just two songs on the internet website MySpace, The Kominas found themselves subjects of national news pieces and film and radio documentaries. Initially self-labelled as Bollywood Punk, the band adopted the label "Taqwacore", in reference to a book called "The Taqwacores" by American novelist Michael Muhammad Knight, which imagines what a would be American Muslim Punk scene would look like. This connection quickly fascinated American and International Media, which led to much being written about this unique example of life-imitating-art, and many international tours with the author. Many fans of this phenomenon felt that this was a necessary complicating counter-narrative to a simplistic, and largely Islamophobic post-9/11 American media landscape.

They came to renown in South Asia from songs they released in Punjabi, Urdu, and Hindi. Their filmed BBC session where the band covered Bollywood classic "Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai" especially got the band much positive attention from the Southern Asian and Punjabi peoples, both native and abroad.

One of their biggest hits is the song "Tunnnnnn", which is a re-interpretation of a classic reggae song; Willie Williams' "Armagideon Time". The lyrics of "Tunnnnnn" are a mashup of English, Urdu, and Punjabi. It's lyrics proclaim (in Urdu): "We will only drink what they drink in Iraq! We will only drink what they drink in Karbala!", touching upon the subject of the horrific reality of warfare and the bombs which were dropped on those places. "Tunnnnnn" was an instant hit with both Kominas fans and newcomers alike.

With the self-titled release "Kominas" in 2012, the band has adopted the more Americana rock elements grunge and garage rock in their style, and moved away from writing about Muslim-centric issues. From 2009-2012 the band toured extensively around America, Canada and Europe. However, since 2012, the band's output has only been mostly daily missives on their Facebook page, which is more often that not, a commentary on the daily politics of race and religion.

Though their commentary has remained political, many fans feel their music has grown less ethnocentric or religious minded, and has taken become more absurdist and nihilistic.


2008 - "Wild Nights in Guantanamo Bay" (Writing & Composition: Shahjehan Khan / Basim Usmani / Arjun Ray / Karna Ray ~ Production: Dana Chisholm Wellspring Sound in Acton, MA; The New England Institute of Art Brookline, MA; DChizzle Studios Lexington, MA)

2010 - "Escape to Blackout Beach" (Writing & Composition: Basim Usmani / Imran Ali Malik / Shahjehan Khan ~ Production: Sevan Minassian)

2011 - "Kominas" (Writing & Composition: Imran Ali Malik / Basim Usmani / Hassan Ali Malik / Abdullah Saeed ~ Produced: Sevan Minassian at New Alliance Studio)

2015 - "Stereotype" (Writing & Composition: Basim Usmani / Hassan Ali Malik / Karna Ray / Shahjehan Khan ~ Production: Sevan Minassian, Steve Roche, and Haris Usmani ~ Recorded at New Alliance Studios in Cambridge, MA & Permanent Hearing Studios in Philadelphia, PA ~ Mastered by Nick Zampiello at New Alliance Mastering in Cambridge, MA)


  1. ^ "Nevermind the Islam. The Kominas are punk". Raja Abdulrahim. Los Angeles Times. August 12, 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "The Kominas bring Islamic punk to Meltdown". Iain Aitch. The Guardian. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "Punk meets Islam for new generation in U.S.". Azadeh Ansari. CNN. August 13, 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2014.