VCUarts Qatar alumnus Abdulrahman al-Muftah has produced and released the third in a series of vinyls dedicated to something very close to his heart – preserving the musical heritage of Qatar and the region.
The record, named “Gnawa”, was produced by al-Muftah’s vinyl record start-up Al Wakrah Vinyl Records and casts the spotlight on the indigenous sounds of Moroccan music.
A highlight of the album’s release at Embrace Doha, a cultural house situated in Souq Al Wakrah, was a live performance by the Moroccan band Nass El Hal whose music features in the album “Gnawa”.
Al-Muftah, who holds an MFA in Design from VCUarts Qatar, and a BFA in Interior Design from Parsons School of Design in New York, started Al Wakrah Vinyl Records just after his post-graduate studies.
“You could say my generation is born into a ‘digitised’ world,” says al-Muftah. “For the same reason, when I first came across vinyl records during my high school days, it was a challenge accepting that each disc held a limited number of tracks. Plus, I couldn’t flick through the songs to the one I wanted. At first, these features annoyed the impatient teenager that I was.”
“After high school, I chose to study design,” he says. “Somehow vinyl records, and the behaviour those records required of you to be able to appreciate them, ran in parallel to the approach required of me to be able to design and create. Both require me to be reflective and patient, observe, and keep an open mind.”
During his time abroad, al-Muftah began collecting records that reflect soundtracks or music from various cultures, all of which are either on display or for sale in his store: Moroccan drums, Georgian theatre, Russian folklore, contemporary Thai, Bollywood, Vietnamese, Heavy Rock, German and much more.
Keen to share his collection with fellow music lovers, he set up a pop-up store in the Fereej Al Najda neighbourhood near Souq Waqif, during the football World Cup. Currently, he has an outlet at the Pearl Island.
Related Story