Nawaf Gheraibah claims that he’s been passionate about music for as long as he could remember. From what we’ve witnessed at Samsara, deemed as the musical event of the season, this claim comes as no surprise.
Currently employed at the Higher Institute of Musical Arts, this Kuwaiti musician and composer has been fiddling around with instruments since a very young age. From the piano, guitar to learning how to play the Tabla, Sitar and Arabian oud, to name a few, Nawaf never envisioned his life without music.
It is that same passion, however, that forced him to interrupt his career as a producer and owner of Alien Records. Considered as the first English record company in Kuwait, Nawaf produced popular artists like Army of One, yet abandoned this success to rediscover his relationship with music as he truly sees it. He states, “I decided I wasn’t being true to my personal music aesthetic; instead I found the music becoming more and more commercial than I had originally anticipated.” After shutting down Alien Records in what was decided as a hiatus, Nawaf traveled the world, rediscovering music on his own terms. This included learning how to play tribal instruments such as bamboo flutes or the African Kora, appreciating esoteric musical practices from different cultures, and arriving at the desire to let music flow in its varied forms. He finds that blending the music of many cultures provides for a spiritual awakening, a coherent sound that echoes with his vision. Upon his return, Nawaf distinctly knew that he wished to communicate a human message with music that steers clear of commercial fame; he wished to deliver the charms of sounds that people appreciated throughout the history of mankind. Hence, Ajna Records materialized.
From his previous performance of “Bija”, which means ‘seed’ in Sanskrit, at Bayt Lothan in 2012 to preparing last November’s Samsara, Nawaf sees a slow but gradual evolution of local musicians and artists in Kuwait. He adds, “With the support of local galleries, non-profit art houses like Bayt Lothan, more and more local talent is being exposed, and hopefully that will continue in the future.” Perhaps it is this evolving scene that seamlessly set the stage for what proves that Samsara is indeed a rebirth. Samsara fused the past and the present with the music of tribal and ancestral instruments alongside performers from different facets of the music industry. Poems, original lyrics and even Abdelhalim Hafez’s classics received a modernized rendition to ultimately conceive a new age sound.
Breaking stigmas, according to the composer, still remains the greatest challenge. Some might perceive his vision as ‘jumbled’ or ‘confusing’, but producing Samsara, with its outstanding mélange of music from different cultures, communicates a clear-cut message summed up in the following statement by Nawaf: “There’s more to music than three minutes of chorus, verse and bridge. If people took the time to explore more ancient forms of music, they would expand their definition of music.”
Nawaf’s fundamental goal with Samsara was to share his love of music with an audience that appreciates this art form, and enlighten them with a few new twists in an effort to shed some light on the many instances of spiritual and emotional expression one could portray with the power of sound. From this turning point, we anticipate more beginnings as a second show is already in the works.
What do you most value in your friends?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
What is your greatest fear?
Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to ignorance.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I’m hard headed.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
My mom and dad.
What is your greatest extravagance?
My music studio.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Awesome” which is bad, but in my defense I picked it up from my wife.
What is it that you most dislike?
Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could oil paint.
If you could have any job, what would it be?
Run a music academy.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
The one yet to come.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your most marked characteristic?
I have a big smile.
Where would you most like to live?
On an organic farm.
What are your favorite words to live by?
Your perception is your reality.
For more information about Nawaf Gheraibah, log on to www.gheraibah.com, and learn more about Ajna Records at www.ajnarecords.com. You can also follow his career on Instagram, @Gheraibah and @Ajnarecords.