They’ve been called the indie ambassadors of Jordanian culture; they’re the switch that triggered the rock scene in Amman; and they’re one of the most enduring bands across the Middle East, continually finding a way to keep their unique brand of reggae-infused, funk-inspired, electronic-tinted indie rock for a decade – a musical cocktail that will be served up at Cairo Jazz Club on Saturday 9th of December.
Having formed in 2007, Autostrad made a huge splash locally and then regionally as the first indie act to perform in Jordanian-Arabic; but ten years on, the group are at the height of their musical powers, despite 2017 EP, Analogue, being their first release since 2013.
For fans that may have feared that this was signalling the end, it was actually anything but. Breathe easy.
Autostrad at the third edition of Bands Across Borders in Amman in May, 2017 (Photo: Nader Daoud/Autostrad Facebook)
The politically charged Analogue further cemented Autostrad’s unofficial position as the voice of the voiceless in Jordan and the Middle East; but this was just one of two projects for the band. The result of almost two years writing, working and recording with various artists around their homeland, Expansions to the Governorates is looking like their most ambitious undertaking yet ahead of its worldwide release in January 2018, as the band continue to push their own boundaries of creativity and collaboration.
But both as artists and politically-charged Arabs, there has always been one ingredient underlining their popularity – a heavy serving of quirk. Whether they’re singing about love, politics, drugs or even music itself, they do so almost with a sense of irony – a characteristic that has made them accessible and kept them relevant in a regional music scene that is growing by the year.
And they’re in it for the long haul.
Like all the best bands, Autostrad’s sound has, over their ten year existence, developed and evolved organically; but it’s their ever-so contagious spirit that remains unchanged.
For more information on Autostrad’s gig, as well as the rest of this week’s schedule, check out Cairo Jazz Club on Facebook.
By Haisam Awad