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Dream comes true for Bahrain band

Bahrain News
Mon, 18 Apr 2016
By Laala Kashef Alghata

Bahrain: A band of musicians, who grew up in Bahrain, have been signed by a “dream label” in the UK. 

Flamingods have been picked up by Soundway Records and will release a new album in June.

They were spotted while playing at the Glastonbury Festival last year, which saw them share the bill with headline acts like Kanye West and Florence and the Machine.

“The most important thing about the signing is that it’s a label we’ve admired for a long time,” band member Charles Prest told the GDN

“They have put out a lot of African high life releases that we’ve really enjoyed and recently bands that we admire, like Meridian Brothers and Ibibio Sound Machine. 

“It felt like an honour that they wanted to bring us on board for our next album, which is in line with the releases they have at the moment. 

“It was at Glastonbury that we had initial conversation, but it was a lot later down the line, once we’d recorded the album, that we were offered a one-record deal.”

The band has performed across the UK and Europe since forming in 2011 and sets itself apart by playing multi-ethnic instruments, which Bahraini-Turkish founder Kamal Rasool began collecting from all over the world.

It is made up of Mr Rasool, 25, Jamaican Mr Prest, 26, Briton Sam Rowe, 24, Irish-Spanish Craig Doporto, 25, and Indian Karthik Poduval, also 25.

“We funded the new album mostly ourselves, knowing that Soundway was an option,” Mr Prest said.

“It was recorded and mixed at an amazing venue called Total Refreshment Centre in Dalston (in London). 

“We pretty much had full creative licence for that whole period and the label is really, really happy with it.” 

He said the band members’ upbringing in Bahrain, with its multicultural atmosphere, had influenced their music – both in terms of the instruments they play and what they listen to for inspiration.

They now hope to come back to Bahrain, where they still have family, to perform a concert later this year. 

“We definitely do take a lot of Middle Eastern influences and being in Bahrain has been really important for us, although it’s taken us a long time to realise,” Mr Prest said.

“Being in a multicultural society helped us get into the music that we did.

“We listened to a lot of music from India, Nepal and meshed that with music from the West and love seeing what happens.

“We’re not a band that loves taking one’s culture and replicating it, rather we interpret it and see how it meshes with something else.

“Bahrain has been helpful in that regard, influencing us to be open-minded about music and cultures in general.” 

The new album, called Majesty, is already available for pre-order and its first single, Rhama, was released last month. 

“The song is loosely about a character coming to terms with not knowing his cultural roots and talking about how he wishes he could know his mother tongue and how to find his identity,” Mr Prest said. 

“It’s an important theme that went through the rest of the album.” 

He added it was “surreal” to have played at the Glastonbury Festival last year and looked forward to more touring this year. 

“This year, we’re hoping to be a lot more active than previous years, because previously we’ve only had summers to do shows,” he said.

“Now we want to start in May until at least the end of the year, going around Europe and the UK. 

“We also want to do shows in the Middle East, hoping for a show in Bahrain and in Dubai around September or October.” 

The new music video for 'Rhama' follows Pakistani Kushti wrestlers in the hot, barren desert landscapes of Dubai.

You can watch the video here:

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