Al Jazeera World

Songs of the Gulf

Four songs from Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Iraq reveal a rich source of stories from the Arabian Gulf.

Racist slurs, satire, an ancient Islamic “advert” and World Cup football pride are the inspirations for these four song stories from the Arabian Gulf.

In Kuwait, the Haydoo song was born as an expression of pride in the face of unpleasant slurs in the 1981 World Cup; in Oman, a satirical song about a cat and mouse is really about the political situation in the 1970s; an old Qatari phrase, “shoomelah”, meaning “rise to him”, became the lyrics of the country’s main football anthem; and in Iraq, an ancient poem about the virtues of black veils became what is considered the oldest “advertisement” in Islamic history.

Away from politics and war, this musical mini-tour sheds light and offers insights into a region often poorly represented in the media.