Executive Producer, Co-Director
This film traces the steps of a Kuwaiti multimedia artist and social entrepreneur, Zahed Sultan, who's grassroots approach to work in social causes and music are the inspiration for a recording project that takes him to uncharted territory - Jamaica. The film reveals Zahed’s approach to re-imagining the folk music traditions of Kuwait and his journey to discover the roots to Jamaica's musical and societal heritage – with a cast of characters he meets along the way who help him realize the unlikely bridges that exist between two seemingly disparate cultures – ties that remind us of our shared struggles as people and our ability to empower ourselves in a rapidly changing world.
hiwar; Reimagining the music of Oman (2017)
This short film, ‘Hiwar’ (Arabic for dialogue), reimagines the land, mountain, and sea music of Oman featuring local Omani dancers, a choir, a strings section, and a folk band. In 2017, Zahed engaged in depth with the culture and customs of Oman, specific to their locale in the Gulf. He discovered their rich heritage and links to Africa, Persia and India, their vision for modernity under the guidance of Sultan Qaboos. For his performance in Muscat, Zahed invited a team of international creatives to join him in developing the special edition of ‘Hiwar’ in congruence with local Omani dancers, a choir, a strings section, and a folk band. The 40-person, 75-minute feature performance used technology, sound, movement, and light, to present a dynamic story about Oman’s importance as a gateway to and from the Arabian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Originally conceived in early 2016 in Sharjah (UAE), ‘Hiwar’ (Arabic for dialogue) is a large format audio-visual-dance performance which takes heritage music from the Arabian Gulf and re-imagines it into a more present day context. The performance features traditional songs played live with percussive instruments and chorus singing alongside contemporary arrangements with piano, cello, visuals and interpretive dance.
The intention for the project is to explore the musical bridges between past traditions and present trends in collaboration with contemporary and traditional artists. Hiwar encourages audience participation to engage in an inter-generational dialogue with the old and the new.
Cake & butter (2016)
Music video for Cake & Butter by Zahed Sultan.
‘Cake & Butter’ is a gritty, alternative rock song with an infectious chorus. The verses are an abstract, social commentary on daughters being ‘buttered up’ for potential suitors to uphold archaic family tradition.
Zahed Sultan was invited to participate in Doug Aitken’s Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening at The Barbican Centre in London, in creative partnership with the Shubbak Festival. Using existing and new material developed during an onsite residency, the performance combined live music, dance and physical theatre, as well as visuals and light manipulation to blur the lines between analogue and digital; nostalgia and futurism; and what’s real and what is perceived. In collaboration with a creative pool of artists, Zahed aspired for the performance to be an immersive happening, an attempt to allow audience members to perceive, engage and feel. Zahed’s performance on July 16 2015 was captured in this short, conceptual film by Timothy George Kelly.
‘eyeamsound’ is a significant departure from Zahed’s previously released works of music. It resides in a more alternative space and is made up of intricate song arrangements that take their time to wind and weave. ‘eyeamsound’ is inspired by vulnerability and aspires to evoke emotion – embodying prominent elements of live instrumentation as well as improvised textures.
Like this (2012)
Music video by Zahed Sultan performing Like This (Ha-ka-tha).
‘Hakatha’ pays tribute to the social frustrations that have plagued the Middle East region prior to the Arab Spring and thereafter. In classical spoken-word Arabic, the narrator calls upon Arab people to stand in unity, against tyranny, with a sense of civic pride.
‘Hakatha’ is Arabic for like this and the song is a rework from an original release by Zahed in 2012 from the ‘Reuse Me’ EP.
I want her but i don’t want her (2011)
Music video by Zahed Sultan performing I Want Her But I Don't Want Her.
In his second music video “I Want Her But I Don’t Want Her,”Zahed delves deeper into his creative psyche to explore a dark fantastical world where art meets life. Shot in High Definition (HD) and layered with animated sketches, Zahed playfully grooves on screen to a sound that is uniquely his own.
“The command of music to do so much by saying so little is what draws me to it as a medium” says Zahed. “By etching a sound and presence that is uniquely my own, I am confident that I can carve a niche for myself in the days to come.”