Featuring Narcy, Sons of Yusuf, & Rotana Tarabzouni
Desert Storm, curated by Noor al Suwaidi, promotes musical talent from the Middle East who are breaking stereotypes, bridging cultural understanding and empowering men and women from the region. Rotana Tarabzouni, a Los Angeles-based Saudi artist and songwriter, describes her music as alternative/cinematic pop. Sons of Yusuf, featuring Kuwaiti brothers Ya’koob and Humble Abdul, blend hip-hop culture with an Arabic twist. Narcy (aka Yassin Al Salman), born in Dubai to parents from Basra, Iraq, and raised between the UAE and Canada, uses hip-hop to explore issues including history of art, identity, religion, colonialism, and race.
Yassin “Narcy” Alsalman, formerly known as the Narcicyst, is a musician, actor, professor and multi media artist based out of Montreal, Canada. Being a pioneer of the Arab Hip-Hop movement through is Iraqi trio Euphrates in the early 2000s, Narcy was a seminal member of a growing voice in the public sphere. He has toured the world with his first solo LP, performing on stages at major Film and Music festival from Dubai to Melbourne. Currently teaching one of Canada’s only Hip-Hop courses at Concordia
University in Montreal, Narcy ethos has been to blend performance with education, media with literacy and creativity with cultural heritage. Yassin is also currently heading an international body of artists WeAreTheMedium, a family of independent creatives that come together for curation, performance, consultation and product based creation.
SONS OF YUSUF
Hailing from Kuwait City and raised in Los Angeles, California, brothers Ya’koob & Humble Abdul aka
‘Sons of Yusuf’ are the Middle East’s leading hip hop duo. As multitalented brothers, they produce and
compose their own songs and are the creative force behind all their videos including, “Arabs in Paris”,
“Now is the Time”, “O’Yamal” and “HALA”. Whether behind the screen or live on stage, Sons of Yusuf
continue to surprise and inspire audiences with their unique work. Growing up in a creative family, their father and former jazz musician, Yusuf Al Refaie, cultivated their appreciation for music and art. After the Gulf War, the family moved to Los Angeles where the brothers were exposed to hip hop culture. They began to introduce their own culture and traditions through rhymes and poetry. From the overwhelming positive responses they received, Sons of Yusuf were determined to spread their message across the globe by using music as a venue for cultural exchange. Apart from their work with HBO, international radio spins, press releases, and over a million YouTube views, their flare for originality prompted an exclusive interview with CNN’s “Connect the World ” with Becky Anderson. After much hard work and determination, Sons of Yusuf have recently established their own production company, The Base Productions. Through this initiative they hope to encourage the world, especially the youth to follow their dreams and help make a change.
Rotana is an Artist and songwriter based in Los Angeles. Rotana moved to the U.S. two years ago to pursue both music and a Masters degree at the University of Southern California. Rotana writes pop music that is largely influenced by her background. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, Rotana is a narrative of pushing societal norms and boundaries. Her pursuit of music is a vehicle to empower women and men from the Middle East to pursue untouched paths whilst creating a bridge of understanding internationally. Rotana has collaborated with The Berklee School of Music, President Jimmy Carter and many other noted musicians. She is currently working on her first EP to be released in 2016. Rotana’s press includes LA Weekly, The Huffington Post, Upworthy, Aljazeera, BBC,Yahoo News, NPR’s The World and others.
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