Music of Bahrain

Music of Bahrain

The music of Bahrain is part of the pan-Gulf khaleeji folk traditions. It is also known (alongside Kuwait) for sawt music, a bluesy genre influenced by African, Indian and Persian music. Sultan Hamid[disambiguation needed ], Ali Bahar and Khalid al Shaikh (a singer and oud player) are among the most popular musicians from Bahrain.[1]

The band Bahraini Osiris has achieved some international renown since the 1980s with its style of progressive rock, most recently including elements of Bahraini folk music.[2]

There is also a strong heavy metal and Hard rock community in the country, with many groups writing and performing original songs. The 3 main bands in the history of the community include thrash metal band Motör Militia, Black Metal band Smouldering in Forgotten and Death Metal band Lunacyst.

Modern music institutions in Bahrain include the Bahrain Music Institute, the Bahrain Orchestra and the Classical Institute of Music. The Bahraini male-only pearl diving tradition is known for the songs called fidjeri.[3]

Liwa and Fann at-Tanbura are types of music and dance performed mainly in communities which contain descendants of East Africans.



Khaleeji is a style of Persian Gulf-area folk music, played in Bahrain with polyrhythms. The style is strongly influenced by the music of Africa. Khaleeji singer Ali Bahar is one of the few Bahraini pop stars to sing in a local dialect, along with his band Al Ekhwa.[4]


  1. ^ 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. ^ "Osiris Band". Bahrain. Retrieved September 28, 2005. 
  3. ^ "Music of Bahrain's Pearl Divers". MSN Encarta. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. Retrieved September 28, 2005. 
  4. ^ "Ali Bahar". Bahraini Blog. Retrieved September 28, 2005. 

External links

Further reading

  • Rovsing Olsen, Poul (2002). Music in Bahrain. David Brown Book Company. ISBN 87-88415-19-8. 
  • Muhammad Bin Faris Ensemble (2004). Sawt of Bahrein. Institut Du Monde. ASIN B00025DQEU. 
  • Various artists (1995). A Musical Anthology of the Arabian Peninsula, Volume 3 – Sowt, Music from the City. Gallo. ASIN B000004A2E. 
  • Various artists (2000). Fidjeri:Songs Of The Bahrain Pearl Divers. UNESCO. ASIN B00000AU93. 
  • Various artists (1995). A Musical Anthology of the Arabian Peninsula, Volume 2 – Music of the Pearl Divers. Gallo. ASIN B000004A2D. 

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