We sat down last week with Ala’a Khoury, the lead singer of Blues O’ Bantalon, and talked about the band, their take on music and the outlook for Jordan’s music scene.
“I sang at Church,” tells us Ala’a, “I knew Ibrahim (Bassist), he brought his brother on board (Drummer). Soon after, Hamzeh (Guitarist) joined the crew. And the band was complete!”
If you’ve already heard the band’s music, you’ll know their fusion can be quite difficult to label!
Ala’a explains, “Our music is pretty much what you get when you have a blues obsessed singer, a funky bassist, a drummer who’s into reggae and an electric guitarist who’s all about heavy metal.”
“I figured we mainly had a Blues theme. So something along the lines of Blues… With a Jordanian spin, it became Blues O Bantalon!”
Calling the band Blues-Eh (T-shirt in Arabic) is pretty much the most unfortunate (yet sadly, the most common) blunder anyone can make in reference to Blues O’ Bantalon.
Ala’a writes his own lyrics. Turns out though, he leaves less to the imagination that you’d think; all of his lyrics are counts of stories he’s been through. Essentially, each song is a snippet of his autobiography, and includes themes which the Jordanian youth can relate to all too well.
“These are the kind of lyrics that people can relate too. Who hasn’t been broke at some point? What better to sing about than the escapades of the daily Jordanian?” Ala’a exclaims with energy when asked about Blues O’ Bantalon’s lyrical theme.
Delve deeper into our music scene, and you’ll find that Jordanians musicians have a community of their own. The majority know each other well, support each other and have each other’s backs. Bassists and drummers are few and far, so many of them play for multiple bands.
Blues O Bantalon was also lucky enough to get supported by Michael Makdah and Tamer Al-Masri, co-founders of JoBedu!
JoBedu are all about cool, funky and creative art. You will have probably ran into their work at one time. And Michael Makdah’s passion for music and its local counterpart means that local bands like Blues O’ Bantalon get the push they need to kick off the ground.
Against The Current
“Reception can be extremely varied. While many people love us, some thought we were hobos or crazy people. Thanks to the electric guitar, some people were starting to think we were Satanists!”
That is, of course, less the case now than before, Ala’a says. A schoolteacher himself, he says almost all of his students play some instrument or another.
“It’s a great way to express yourself.”
But, Ala’a says, bands have a whole different crowd to impress. Namely, themselves!
“As a musician, you care a lot about what other musicians think about you and your music. We were lucky enough to have great reception to our music.”
An album is in the making. If you’re looking for a sneak peak into their upcoming music, stay tuned! We’re getting an exclusive preview to the bands new songs, and we’ll be sharing some of it with you on #HCW!
Best thing about the band? Besides the great music, they’re down to earth guys who love music, love the local scene and who are pouring all of their efforts into cultivating a creative Amman!
Check out Blues O’ Bantalon and follow @HumanityCanWait for more upcoming music features!