The Soul Behind the Music: Enlightened, but still Outlandish

The Danish group Outlandish is one of my favorite music bands, so I was delighted to recently find in my inbox a Divanee Magazine interview with Waqas Qadri. Qadri is ethnically Pakistani; the other two band members are ethnically Moroccan and Cuban/Honduran.

From the Outlandish website:

We live in times when political positions are becoming polarized and cultures are considered fenced-in entities that cannot be united. The world is often viewed through a faulty prism that divides “us” from “them.” That’s why it is such a tension-breaker when someone takes the time and uses their talent to remind us that we are all human beings. That the blood running through your veins is not significantly different from the blood that flows through your neighbor’s body, even though you may not share the same social status, political views, religious conviction or hail from the same latitude or longitude. This is where Outlandish enters the picture.

The story of Outlandish is an uplifting tale about three friends’ common adventure, which starts in the youth clubs and soccer fields of the western Copenhagen suburbs… At the same time, Outlandish is the story of a band that insists on the vantage point called “the world we live in,” and through subjective, grass-root musical narratives, tries make a difference.

In my favorite part of the Divanee interview, Qadri says:

The other artists would take a break beat and sample from Marvin Gaye or old jazz . The samples often came from records their parents used to listen to. So I went home and went through my parents’ record collection and I couldn’t find Marvin Gaye and other artists like that. All I could find was Mehdi Hassan or Lata Mangeshkar. I talked to Isam and Lenny, and Isam found some Arabic and Lenny had de Mercedes Sosa. So we said, ‘What the heck, let’s try this’ and decided to put it all together. We picked up a record and took it to the studio. The producer was like, ‘What the hell are you doing? You can’t mix hip hop with Asian music. Or Latin music. That won’t work; bring me some Stevie Wonder or something like that.’

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