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Outlandish From Denmark to Worldwide Fame

Recently after the concert in Cairo Isam Bachiri did an interview with IslamOnline.net talking about different subjects from music to politics. he also unveiled some news about OL's coming album.

Read the interview here

**Here's the interview if you can't open the link:

Bachiri, one of the band's members, talked to IslamOnline.net (IOL) about the band and shared his thoughts as a European Muslim.

IOL: So, how did you guys meet?

Bachiri: Waqas was living in one of the neighborhoods in the western suburbs of Copenhagen. I moved to the same neighborhood in 1988, and Lenny's parents also moved there in 1989. At that time, we were all pretty much the same age and crazy about soccer, playing with a lot of kids, hanging out in the same neighborhood where there was a big hip-hop trend, and we picked up on that. We started break-dancing and rapping and then moved on to expressing ourselves through poetry.

IOL:And when did you start developing your own style?

Bachiri: Way before Outlandish was created, we were very much into the gangster rap scene prevalent in the US, but then we matured away from it because it wasn't what we were about as individuals, and we got more into describing our environment — about who we are as second-generation immigrants in Copenhagen. We didn't want people to mistake us for an American hip-hop group. It's true that we all use the same formula, but then we adopted this formula to our own roots.

IOL: What inspired that change?

Bachiri: As a human being, you develop with time, and therefore you change your style. We are a hip-hop group, but we don't have to stick to that all the time. There is nothing against doing some folk music or semi-Arabic. This is why we assembled some music from Umm Kulthum [famous classic Egyptian singer], for instance. And to get the permission to integrate a song of a legend like Umm Kulthum in our music was a great honor.

IOL: Is this music meant for the Danish audience?

Bachiri: Our music is meant for people from all over the world. We never wanted to do something local; this is why we sing in different languages and integrate music from different genres into our albums. However, I just did a solo project in Danish, which is still my mother tongue, and I really enjoyed it.

IOL: And when did your music start going international?

Bachiri: Our first album, Outland's Official, in 2000 did well in Denmark, but it never made it out of Denmark. Our next album, Bread & Barrels of Water, went international in 2003, and it was the album that put us on the world's music map.

IOL: Was it difficult to be part of the international music scene?

Bachiri: It's always tough to be a band from a small country like Denmark , with all the prejudices in the music business. If you aren't from the US or the UK, it's tougher, because Danish music is not well known internationally, especially this urban music genre, which is a combination of hip-hop, R&B [rhythm and blues], and soul, and Denmark is not known for that. It's more known for its rock and pop music scene.

IOL: Do you think it had anything to do with your and Waqas's Muslim origins?

Bachiri: Not really; we faced this because we're Danish and not because of our Muslim origins. Of course there are racism and Islamophobia and all that, but we started experiencing this after 9/11.

IOL: In what way?

Bachiri: Well, we experienced everything from threats to bombs. We actually had a bomb threat in a concert in Tivoli in Copenhagen, after 9/11, and we had to cancel the concert. This was the first time I experienced how drastically the world has changed after these attacks, and it made me glad to have released our first album after 9/11.

On a more positive note, however, the 9/11 events have shown us, as artists, the great responsibility we have in bringing people together. There is always one thing everybody respects: music, among other beautiful things.

IOL: And in Denmark, did it affect your popularity?

Bachiri: I think at the end of the day, what really matters is good, quality music. In Denmark, people don't care about where you're from. Of course, there are a few idiots, just as there are in Egypt and in almost every country, but we can't say that everybody is like that.

IOL: Do you think that the Danish embassy's sponsorship for this concert is a political move to show Muslims that there are successful Muslims in Denmark who are also backed up by the Danish government?

Bachiri: I don't think so. As a matter of fact, Denmark is not against Muslims, and not because one guy [the Jyllands-Posten journalist] did what he did, a whole country should be blamed. As for the concert, there have been several attempts to bring us to Egypt in the last couple of years, and the Danish embassy sponsors these concerts as part of their mission to enrich the cultural scene in Egypt. And it turned out that we have a lot of fans here, which is very interesting.

IOL: Speaking of that, what was your reaction toward these cartoons?

Bachiri: It was a very sad thing, and it brought back all the bad things I experienced as a Muslim artist — the people who were against me just because of my religion. It's one thing to get someone writing negatively about you in a newspaper, and it's a whole other thing to get a personal letter in your home, where your family is, telling you that you should die.

IOL: Do you think the whole cartoon issue was blown out of proportion?

Bachiri: I don't think there is a need to burn things, you know. It's not Islamic to burn embassies and flags.

IOL: Finally, what about your next album?

Bachiri: Our next album will focus a lot on the situation of the world outside. It's needed to know how I feel as a Danish Muslim, you know. European Muslims speak their minds and say what they believe in at the human level, and I believe we succeeded in achieving that to a big extent.
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Posted on 27 Nov 2007 by elmoro4life       Bookmark and Share


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