Known for being an epicenter for trade routes for decades in the Persian Gulf, Bahrain is also a cluster of over 30 islands…one of which is the home of indie folk artist Ala Ghawas. Releasing his first album in 2007, he’s gone on to do so much while making a name for himself in his native land. We talked about that, where he started and what’s to come.
Kendra: In doing this I am brushing up on a whole lot of geography I missed out on in school. Knowing now that Bahrain is a nation made up of islands, where exactly do you call home and how do the different islands vary from one another?
Ala Ghawas: I was born in Muharraq Island but I live by the northern shore of Bahrain Island in a small village called Barbar, that’s where home is. I think it’s an overstatement to identify Bahrain as bunch on different islands, it’s pretty much one piece of connected land.
Kendra: Now onto the music, what’d you pick up first the guitar or piano?
Ala Ghawas: Piano, any day.
Kendra: Over the years you’ve become quite the local hero. When that happened, when people started to recognize you, were you taken aback at first?
Ala Ghawas: I don’t know much about that. Maybe because I was one of the first independent musicians – from my generation – who recorded original music and put records out, but I didn’t become a recording artist to be perceived as a hero. I’m just obsessed with the possibility of expressing myself through songs.
Kendra: If Bahrain was going to adopt one of your songs as a national anthem of sorts, which would you hope they chose?
Ala Ghawas: A song called “Rebellion.”
Kendra: Lastly, what can fans far and wide expect from you in the musical sense in the coming months?
Ala Ghawas: I’m working on my fifth studio album. It’s called Tryst and it’s due in 2017.