Radiohead invites Israeli Jewish-Arab band to be opening act on US tour

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, pictured performing in Lisbon on July 15, 2012, is well-known for his activism on climate change
Patricia de Melo Moreira (AFP/File)
Radiohead also invited Israeli singer Shye Ben Tzur as a warm-up act in Tel Aviv and Florence

Dudu Tassa & the Kuwaitis, an Israeli band with Jewish and Arab performers has been invited to join iconic British alternative rock band Radiohead on their US tour as an opening act, Radiohead announced on Twitter Tuesday.

"Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis will support Radiohead on their US headline dates, beginning in Miami on March 30th," Radiohead tweeted.

According to the group's website, Dudu Tassa & the Kuwaitis is a "cross-cultural joint Jewish-Arabic project from Israel which revives the music of the Al-Kuwaiti Brothers - composers of some of the most popular Iraqi songs from the early 20th century."

The Al- Kuwaiti brothers were Dudu Tassa's grandfather and great uncle, Jewish Iraqis who immigrated to Israel in the 1950s.

In a post on the band's Facebook page, Dudu Tassa wrote that he "could not imagine" ever joining Radiohead on tour.

"In 2010 I gave Johnny Greenwood vinyl of Dudu Tessa & the Kuwaitis and was surprised to discover that a song from the album was on Radiohead's site," he wrote, referring to Radiohead's lead guitarist and keyboardist. "I could not imagine a reality where Radiohead invited me to open their entire tour of the US."

Dudu Tessa & the Kuwaitis have released two studio albums: their self-titled debut in 2011, and and Ala Shawati released in 2015.

The lyrics of the songs of both albums are Iraqi Arabic, and feature Jewish and Arab guest performers.

Among the stops included in Radiohead's US tour is the Coachella music festival in Indio, California.

In addition to joining Radiohead on tour in the US, they will open for the British band during their upcoming performance in Tel Aviv on July 19.

Radiohead also invited Israeli singer Shye Ben Tzur to play as a warm-up act in Tel Aviv and again in Florence, Italy.

Shye Ben Tzur and Johnny Greenwood teamed up to create the 2015 album Junun at Mehrangarh Fort in Rajasthan, India. 

Ben Tzur has split his time over the last decade between Israel and India. He writes Qawwalis- instrumental and devotional music with lyrics in Hebrew, Urdu and Hindi- drawing heavy influence from classical Indian music.


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