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Bahrain has made its mark on the legendary Glastonbury Festival in the UK with the sounds of Arabia entertaining the crowds.
The five-day Glastonbury Festival, which attracts thousands of music lovers from around the globe, is also a performing arts bonanza.
It features all kinds of music, cinema, poetry, drama, painting and circus acts, as well as mega stars such as Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar and Paul McCartney setting stages on fire.
For musicians and DJs in Bahrain, being a part of that festival which boasts 31 different musical areas and more than 100 stages over 900 acres, has always been a dream.
Dar Disku, which means the ‘house of disco’ in Arabic, made it a reality by playing an hour-and-a-half set at the Wow Stage to around 2,000 people and its founders, Bahraini Mazen Almaskati and Indian Vish Matre, described the experience as ‘wonderful’.
“It was an unforgettable experience for sure, one of our biggest shows to date,” said Mazen, 29, who is currently based in and around the English city of Bristol. “Glastonbury has always been a welcoming home for all forms of art, creativity and all walks of life and human experience.
“We felt embraced by a crowd who were rooting for us. We saw a lot of people who were inquisitive and came to see us for the first time and plenty of familiar faces, smiling and dancing with us. It truly felt like a family and a ‘home away from home’.”
They thanked promoter Dave Harvey and the rest of Team Love ‘for making our dream come true’.
Mazen and Vish, who had grown up less than a mile apart in Bahrain with a shared fascination for discovering new music, played a mixture of originals, edits and tracks from their past Dar Disku Records releases.
They also played tracks from their close friends Moving Still and Tjade, who have released songs on their label in the past, as well as tunes by other talented artists and producers.
“Hopefully, we created a magical moment to share with a wonderful crowd, some of whom know us well and others who have never ventured into that sonic space and yet feel eager to stay and find out more,” said Vish, 28. “It’s always been about creating special shared moments for us as well as a safe, welcoming space where we exchange cultures and stories.”
Their label, which they founded in 2019, is said to encompass ‘all things high energy, new beat, strange and pure’ with a lot of their musical culture stemming from the kingdom.
“Our years in Bahrain were truly formative for our musical experience,” added Mazen. “We were blessed to have grown up in a melting pot of cultures and had the chance to meet people from all around the world, many of whom opened our eyes and ears to genres and musical styles we wouldn’t have come across otherwise.
“It’s also where we were supported and given the space and resources to record and produce our music in professional studios as teenagers, rehearse and play shows. It’s these experiences that showed us the ropes and gave us the confidence to keep on this musical journey.
“That being said, it’s also a place where we absorbed the music of our cultures, everything spanning from Khaleeji rhythms, Egyptian pop and Lebanese folk songs to Bollywood classics and hypnotic Ragas.”
They were inspired to play in Glastonbury and encouraged to chase that dream after watching other artists from Bahrain making their mark internationally such as Ayad Al Adhamy (Passion Pit), Yazz Ahmed and their friends Flamingods.
“Seeing our peers and representation from Bahrain on a global stage made us feel like it was all possible and pushed us forwards,” added Mazen. “That being said, it felt incredible to be able to proudly carry the influence Bahrain has had across the globe and into a place like Glastonbury.”
Dar Disku have also been featured IN Mixmag’s dance and club magazine Breakthrough DJ of 2021 and they were also named as residents on the iconic Worldwide FM.
Dar Disku will be continuing their run of shows with some UK and Europe dates and are also working on a full length original album.
Meanwhile, Gilan El-Attar, the daughter of well-known Bahrain-based soul singer and special needs advocate Christine Gordon, also strummed her guitar and captivated music lovers three times in different areas during the festival.
“It still hasn’t sunk in that I got to play music at the same festival as so many people I admire,” said the 32-year-old living in Richmond Upon Thames. She grew up in a musical household. Her father, Dr Emad was a chemist and musician, and her mum, Christine, could be found singing soulful and jazzy renditions of various songs from the likes of Jamiroquai and Sade across the island. Gilan plays the guitar, bass and cello.
“It feels unreal,” she added. “It has always been pretty high up in my bucket list. It means so much to me and I feel very humbled right now.
“I got to play a slot at a festival that I adore and meet like-minded people. In the future, I would love to play at as many of the different stages around Glastonbury as I can. Each part of the festival is so unique.
“Up next for me are some more solo gigs, but I cannot announce them yet so keep your eyes peeled on my social media. I’m very excited!”
Follow @dardisku_records and @herecomesgilan on Instagram.