An informal evening of music between the Seafaring Arabian Gulf and Swahili Coastal communities

The Boom Diwaniya is a musical salon and nexus point for reconnecting musical dialogues of the Western Indian Ocean and beyond. These informal evening gatherings will introduce the Kuwaiti diwaniya, where members from traditional groups including The Hamad Bin Hussein Ensemble and The Mayouf Mejally Ensemble will perform and share the traditional sea arts (bahri music). Guest artists include celebrated violinist Layth Sidiq and multi-instrumentalist Mbarak Ali Haji.

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Biographies

Ghazi Faisal Al-Mulaifi

Ghazi Faisal Al-Mulaifi, PhD (b. 1977) is an applied-ethnomusicologist and professor of music who earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in Music from New York University (2016). Al-Mulaifi is also a Venice Biennale artist, composer, global jazz musician, and founder of the collaborative ensemble Boom.Diwan. His research interests include: The Kuwaiti Sea Arts, cosmopolitanism in the Western Indian Ocean Music Worlds, global jazz, and the politics and tensions between traditional practice and heritage production.

His current musical efforts include leading his ensemble Boom.Diwan; where he and traditional Kuwaiti musicians dialog Kuwaiti bahri (sea) music with global jazz traditions for the purpose of creating a new Kuwaiti music that revives a musical tradition of dialog, experimentation, play and exchange.

Boom.Diwan

Founded by guitarist and applied ethnomusicologist Ghazi Al-Mulaifi, Boom.Diwan is a collaborative global jazz ensemble that revives the cosmopolitan tradition of the Kuwaiti pearl diving music of the Indian Ocean trade. With influences spanning Zanzibar to Calicut, improvisation, fluidity, and dialogue are at the center of Boom.Diwan.

Layth Sidiq

Layth Sidiq is a Grammy-nominated violinist, composer, and educator and the current artistic director of the New York Arabic Orchestra. He has toured the world and shared the stage with major artists such as Simon Shaheen, Danilo Perez, and Jack DeJohnette, as well as performing in prestigious venues like the London Jazz Festival, Boston Symphony Hall, WOMEX Expo, Panama Jazz Festival, and more. He is featured on multiple award-winning albums and his first record Son of Tigris premiered at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 2016.

In 2018, Layth won 2nd place at the Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition as the first Arab to ever participate, and he was also recently awarded ‘Best International Artist’ at the 2020 Boston Music Awards. He also directs the Center for Arabic Culture’s Youth Orchestra Program in Boston and was a faculty member at Carnegie Hall’s ‘Music Educators Workshop’. Layth is the lead vocalist and violinist for the new Assassin’s Creed game ‘Mirage’, which was released in 2023.

Mbarak Ali Haji

Mbarak Ali Haji is a multi-instrumentalist born in 1958 in Rasini Village in Kenya. In 2006, he founded Lelele Africa Taarab Music in Mombasa, Kenya. He has been performing live music since the age of 19 and is a composer, leader, poet, songwriter, and artist playing harmonium, taishkoto, keyboard, and percussion. He credits his late mother, Fatma Mohamed Abdalla, as his inspiration.