Pop music may be considered by some to be a largely American phenomenon, but around the world artists have contributed to this musical genre, and the multiculturalism of many artists is expressed through the sounds and styles of pop.
Shakira is probably one of the best known Arab American artists today, but many of those familiar with her music only think about the Latin part of her identity and neglect her Arab background. Shakira’s paternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, and her Arab roots are definitely present in her musical style and even her concert performances and music videos. Once aware of the Arab part of her identity you’ll think “no wonder she bellydances!” From a young age Shakira knew she wanted to be a performer and she has long been inspired by the sound of the doumbek, a traditional Arab drum.
Three artists make up the band Outlandish: Waqas Ali Qadri, Isam Bachiri, and Lenny Martinez. Though based in Denmark, the group has strong Arabic influences and two of its members, Waqas and Isam, are Muslim. Interestingly the third member, Lenny Martinez, is a practicing Catholic.