The Boom: is the most important ship in Kuwait. It was used for pearl diving and for merchant trade. It serves as a metaphor for the musical exploration that Boom.Diwan engages in.  

The (music) Diwan: is a place where traditional Kuwaiti seafaring music ensembles, preserve and pass on traditional Kuwaiti music. It is also a metaphor for the exchange between Boom.Diwan with other musicians; regardless of genre, style, or culture.  

About Ghazi

Ghazi Faisal Al-Mulaifi, PhD (b. 1977) is musician, applied-ethnomusicologist, and professor of music who earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in Music from New York University (2015). Al-Mulaifi is also a Venice Biennale artist, composer, global jazz musician, and founder of Boom.Diwan. His research interests include: the Kuwaiti sea arts, global jazz, . His current musical efforts include leading his ensemble Boom.Diwan; where he and traditional Kuwaiti musicians dialog Kuwaiti bahri (sea) music with global jazz traditions for the purpose of creating a new Kuwaiti music that revives a musical tradition of dialog and exchange.

photo: Waleed Shah





Previous events

Khaleeji and Afro Cuban music meet in an evening of spiritual jazz, for a world-premiere, live concert recording.

Following the success of the Cuban Khaleeji Project, recently revived in three sold-out concerts in New York, Boom.Diwan collaborate once again with the multi Grammy Award winning pianist Arturo O’Farrill. Experience the rhythms and sounds of two seafaring cultures coming together for an intimate concert that features a Kuwaiti Sea Arts (bahri) percussion ensemble and Afro Latin jazz musicians.

The music, part of Al-Mulaifi’s research as an applied ethnomusicologist and NYUAD visiting professor of music, will be the result of a shared dialog with his friend and long-time collaborator Arturo O’Farrill, and recorded for a forthcoming album in The Black Box over the course of a week. It culminates in this concert, presented with the support of the NYUAD Division of Arts and Humanities, and co-commissioned by The Arts Center, and as a part of Abu Dhabi City of Music.

Khaleeji rhythms and sounds in musical conversation with global jazz Join us for music followed by a community suhoor featuring Boom.Diwan (Kuwait/UAE) with Nduduzo Makhathini (South Africa) and Jean-Michel Pilc (France/USA/Canada). In the spirit of Ramadan, this concert highlights and values the power of dialog for understanding, peace, and resolution.

Boom.Diwan x Nduduzo Makhathini unite for their first live performance together celebrating the release of their acclaimed suite Minarets, commissioned by The Arts Center. An immersive ritual of music rooted in Khaleeji pearl diving traditions meeting South African jazz. The suite of immersive ritual music touches on ideas of cosmopolitanism, community, dialogue, and healing.

Boom.Diwan x Jean-Michel Pic debut a new collaboration, uniting Khaleeji pearl diving traditions, with Franco-American jazz pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, a ”Musical genius” (Washington Post), who is known for his harmonic reinventions of standards. Boom.Diwan invites Pilc to dialogue with and reinvent new harmonic worlds with the new Khaleeji Jazz Standards that they are known for. The concert builds on Boom.Diwan’s ongoing concept of exchange with guests from different cultural traditions in the cosmopolitan spirit of the pearl trade.

Boom.Diwan X Nduduzo Makhathini

The Arts Center at NYUAD

An immersive ritual of music rooted in Khaleeji pearl diving traditions meeting South African jazz: Online Concert and Artist Talk.

For this performance, Boom.Diwan will collaborate with and feature special guest pianist Nduduzo Makhathini, the first-ever South African musician signed to the legendary Blue Note Records. The two are composing a suite that will be performed as an immersive ritual of music, the visual, and dance that takes into account ideas about the self, the community, and the spiritual in the face of modernity. The music touches on ideas of cosmopolitanism, community, dialogue, and healing.

Founded by applied ethnomusicologist Ghazi Al-Mulaifi, Boom.Diwan is a collaborative global jazz ensemble that revives the cosmopolitan tradition of the Kuwaiti pearl diving music of the Indian Ocean trade. With influences spanning Zanzibar to Calicut, improvisation, fluidity, and dialogue are at the center of Boom.Diwan. At its core, Boom.Diwan is comprised of Al-Mulaifi on vocals, percussion, and electric guitar and members of the Mayouf Mejally Ensemble, who are the among the oldest and most widely respected pearl-diving music ensembles in Kuwait and the GCC. For this performance, they will be joined by Steven Bedford (NOON) on electric bass, and Claude Cozens on drum kit. Improvisation and cross-cultural collaborations are the foundation of Boom.Diwan’s mission.

This residency is presented with support from the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

A world premiere commissioned by The Arts Center, featuring Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (USA, Cuba) with guests: Yazz Ahmed (Bahrain, UK), Boom.Diwan (Kuwait), Malika Zarra (Morocco, France), Emirati oudist (TBA).

Afro-Latin jazz innovator Arturo O’Farrill leads a musical exploration of the Arab, Moorish, and North African roots of Afro Latin and Afro Cuban music and the seafaring music of the Arabian Gulf, featuring the Grammy-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and a broad range of khaleeji special guests. Inspired by Ned Sublette’s work tracing this connection between the Arabic and the Afro Cuban music as it travels via the Strait of Gibraltar and Andalucia. The usage of microtonal variation in Middle Eastern song and similar practice in the Blues and Afro folkloric chants is created with the invited guests, as they also explore the relationship of Khaleeji and Cuban music with seafaring culture.


Ajman University, Ajman


The Fridge, Dubai

Boom.Diwan's Dubai debut at THE FRIDGE


The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi

Poets and musicians celebrate the UAE’s cultural diversity and explore their heritages. Celebrate the Year of Zayed & UAE National Day with a beautiful evening under the stars. Nabati and spoken word poets, musicians, and storytellers celebrate the cultural diversity of the place we call home, the UAE. As part of UAE National Day, Hekayah | The Story is free and open to all; note that online ticket registration is required.

Emirati spoken word poet and artist, Afra Atiq, hosts the evening along with 10 exceptionally talented artists whose work speaks to heritage and identity. See the artist lineup below. Bring your family and friends, relax on the majlis or seats, and enjoy an evening rich in talent and heritage.

The lineup for the 4th annual Hekayah is:

Aathma Nirmala Dious – Spoken Word Poetry – UAE Amal Ali Al Sayegh – Nabati Poetry – UAE Boom.Diwan – Khaleeji Seafaring Music meets Jazz – Kuwait Danabelle Gutierrez – Spoken Word Poetry – Philippines, Cairo, Vienna, Muscat Farah Chamma – Spoken Word Poetry – Palestine Gaar Adams – Creative Nonfiction, Literary Reportage – USA Maha Jamil – Theater, Poetry, Prose – Pakistan Omar Al Marzouqi – Minimalist Pianist – UAE Samar Abdel Jaber and Nicole Callihan – Poetry – Palestine and USA Shamma Al Bastaki – Spoken Word Poetry – UAE The lineup of performers was selected through a collaborative process curated by: Shamma al Bastaki, Bill Bragin, Zari Jafri, Dorian Paul Rogers, and Deborah Lindsay Williams.

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