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Legendary progressive rock band Osiris, which has been pulling on music lovers’ heart strings since the 80s with their originally composed sounds and edgy lyrics, are back and set to enthral fans with the launch of their new album Take a Closer Look.
The eight-track collection features songs that were recorded and composed over the years by the seven-strong team of instrumentalists and musicians in a studio in Tubli. According to Mohamed Alsadeqi, the guitarist and back-up vocalist of the band who founded Osiris alongside his drummer and percussionist brother Nabil back in 1980, each individual song is more different and moving than the next.
These never heard before tracks will be released to the public in album form online on various music selling platforms such as Amazon by the end of the year.
Mohamed, the father of four who works as the vice chief executive of admin and finance at the Electricity and Water Authority (EWA), said: “We are excited to be in the final stages of completing our next album which we hope to release later this year. The album will have a bit of everything in it from our past and present styles. It will be totally different from the last two albums. We are also working on new material in preparation for our next concert which will possibly be towards the end of this year.”
The band, which also features keyboardist Abdul Razzaq Arian, a retired communications specialist who worked for a telecom company, pianist and keyboardist Khalid Al Shamlan, an engineer at EWA, keyboardist Nader Sharif, a retired airline executive, bass and pedals player Hadi Saee, a fibre glass supervisor and vocalist Sayed Ahmed “Rav” Ravanbakhsh, an entrepreneur, have been rehearsing up to twice-a-week in preparation for the album. Their rehearsals will intensify though when it’s time for them to prepare for their concert.
The album will be released under French music label “MUSEA” which signed them as part of its record label around 10 years ago. It had re-released their first three albums, Osiris (1981), Myths and Legends (1984), Reflections (1989) and then released three more albums under its label called Beyond Control (1991), Visions from the Past (2007) and Tales of the Divers (2010). The band also launched a DVD for its fans entitled The Myth and the Legend in 2015.
Their sound has always been progressive with influences from western greats such as Camel, Genesis, and Jethro Tull, combined with Arabic touches including the interplay of percussion lines to create a genuine musical osmosis between two cultures.
Mohamed said: “We offer a symphonic rock to our fans. We mainly want them to enjoy our music. We like to play our own compositions with our own ideas. We also like to incorporate our traditional Bahraini rhythms in our music.
“Our previous concept albums represented and talked about Bahrain. Tales of the Divers for example shared their stories and their plights while Visions from the Past spoke about the old Bahrain and new Bahrain through the eyes of an old man – something for the better and some for the worse. Having also an international following and being recognised abroad is amazing. We certainly receive emails from fans from all over the world including the UK, USA, Japan, Germany, Turkey and other countries.
“Our music does get airplay abroad too and we have been mentioned on various international rock sites. Unfortunately, we never performed abroad due to various reasons, although our international fans continuously ask us to do so. Maybe we will one of these days.”
In terms of concerts, they wished they could have performed more. He added: “We needed time for composing and as our shows are quite elaborate, our performances were few and far in between; usually once every two years or so.
“This was not aided with changes happening within the line-up. The concerts were usually held in big halls as big stages were required for the shows. The last concert we performed was at the Cultural Hall in 2015. We have done quite a few charity concerts as well and we even performed in support of the Bahrain Olympic team back in the 80s. It was a benefit concert.”
Mohamed had been playing the guitar since the age of 11 and studied music for several years along with his sister, Dr Faequa, and brother. Nabil wanted to become a drummer like Ringo Starr. He was playing the drums by the age of eight. The avid music lovers, who were exposed to several genres including classical, jazz, local folk, pop and rock, started the group WITCH alongside their sister and cousin Hayden.
“In those pre-college days, we had a semi-family band and played a lot of commercial music in various gigs,” said Mohamed who graduated with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Houston in Texas and received a masters from Strathclyde University in Scotland. After returning from university, he wanted to play a more sophisticated form of music and that is when the idea of Osiris started. They began rehearsing in the garage of their parents’ home in Manama and received lots of friends and visitors interested in the idea of setting up Bahrain’s first ever progressive rock band. They even placed small ads to attract musicians.
They will always thank and remember past musicians in their group namely Mohammed Al Shafee, Isa Janahi, Subah Alsadeqi, Debbie Moss, Ali Khonji, Nader Rafeii, Jalil Abdulla, Sami Al Jamea, Martin Hughes and of course the kingdom’s popular bassist and singer-songwriter, Ahmed “AQ” AlQasim. Ahmed still jams with the band from time to time. The brothers will also always be grateful to their past bass guitarist, Khalid Al Mutawa, who sadly passed away a few years ago.
Mohamed believes Osiris’s following will enjoy their upcoming sound and hopes to continue rocking his fans for years to come.
He said: “I believe it’s great that I’m still playing, recording and performing, at my age. My children, who are adults now, love watching me perform and attend all my concerts.
“When the band and I play our music, we are expressing our emotions in a universal language. For us, it is part of who we are and not only reflects our joys but also our sadness. I cannot imagine life without it.
“I hope we continue to release music for many years to come and I also would love for Osiris to perform in one of the major international rock festivals abroad someday.
“I would like to thank all those who support Osiris and be on the lookout for our next show.”