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Advice for Saudi Arabia’s Rockers

accoladepic.jpgWhen rock goes up against religion, why does it always start with heavy metal? The New York Times recently reported on an all-girl rock band in Saudi Arabia that has a hit with their song “Pinocchio,” a wail about love gone wrong. They aren’t Muslim rockers, per se, but in the Middle East’s most conservative Islamic nation just using the words “girl,” “rock,” and “band,” represents a pushback against the Saudi culture’s stiffly enforced moral codes, based in Wahhabist Islam and enforced by government.
Like early Christian rockers Resurrection Band, the taboo-defying teens of The AccoLade and other bands mentioned in the Times piece rock hard. Wouldn’t it be easier to start off with a little Muslim Amy Grant?


While the band, The AccoLade, only performs for closed audiences, and doesn’t dare record an album, the Times attributes the band’s existence to a liberalizing trend in Saudi Arabia, especially in the country’s commercial capital and The AccoLade’s home, Jidda. As recently as 1995, a rock concert could invite arrest; now the Times cites “dozens of bands,” including several metal groups and, of course, hip-hoppers. Obviously, kids in a repressive society are bound to rage against the machine, and revolution is all very well. But if it’s a record industry they want, the Saudi headbangers had better first come up with an Islamic folkie.

  • Keystone

    They are not the first (or last) Saudi rock band, and they are not the
    first Saudi all-girl band either. Chicks Behind Walls
    are Saudi’s first all-girl rock band.
    A fellow Saudi band who is also struggling is Sandstoned; three of the
    band members, including the vocalist, are Saudi nationals. Regardless
    of gender, all rock artists in Saudi Arabia struggle to find live
    venues; the laws in the Kingdom are gender-blind when it comes to such
    matters of propriety.

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