Multi-media artist Zahed Sultan‘s musical Vibrations continue to resonate on his new video Monkey Riddim — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist!
Recorded at Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Studio in Kingston as part of Zahed’s debut documentary Vibrations, Monkey Riddim features the vocal talents of Chedda and Bugzy from Jamaica. The song fuses native percussion from Kuwait and Jamaica to create a modern tribal-reggae sound which is reinforced by vibrant samples of jungle ambiance and hard-hitting verses in Patois. The video is a satirical commentary on pressing politics and social issues in the Arab world (such as the refugee crisis, terrorism, proxy wars, and LGBT rights), many parallels of which can be drawn to issues faced by youth in Jamaica today.
“Through a cultural exchange, I collaborated with people from Kingston, exploring unlikely bridges that exist between Jamaica and Kuwait, two seemingly disparate cultures,” Sultan says. “The film brings to light the shared struggles we face as people and our ability to empower ourselves in today’s rapidly changing world.”
It’s a befitting extension for the London-based artist and entrepreneur from Kuwait, whose work has been licensed for various film, television, and musical collaborations. His entire ethos orbits the idea of community through social impact programs and cooperative music projects.
“My work in the Arab world has brought me into contact with an incredible array of cultural producers, all growing local and regional followings in a variety of creative mediums,” he explains. “Two trends began to emerge: one was my growing interest in folk music traditions coming from the Arabian Gulf, and the other was my own proclivity for wanting to incorporate other foreign traditions into it.
“For this project in particular, the strong social messaging contained in the music from Jamaica resonated with my own grassroots approach to use the arts as a vehicle to affect social change.
“As a multi-media artist and social entrepreneur, it became obvious to me that both the Arab world and Jamaica shared something powerful between them — music as a vehicle for messaging,” he continues. “My intention was to explore the roots of the powerful musical traditions of Jamaica as told through my own exploration of them, including its highly rich pre- and post-independence social movements and cultural heritage. Relying on local social activists and aspiring artists, they guided me and participated in the recording of a body of work that sought to celebrate a one-of-a-kind cross-cultural exchange.”
Experience it for yourself by watching Monkey Riddim above and streaming the Vibrations EP below.