Bikes, Sun and a Hypnotic tune
The British-Bahraini psychedelic band Flamingods has launched its latest single Marigold with a peppy tune and a hypnotic video that delves deep into the ‘biker culture’ prevalent in parts of the sultanate. The song, shot in Oman in a course of three days, chronicles a motorbike journey through the historic towns of Nizwa, Jebel Akhdar, Muttrah and Ruwi.
The band, consisting of Kamal Rasool, Karthik Poduval, Sam Rowe and Charles Prest, is well known for blending Eastern musical influences and Western psychedelia. Marigold, directed by Barbu.TV, is the first single released from its latest and fourth studio album Levitation.
Omani photographer and co founder of the arts initiative The Community, Ali al Sharji, who assisted the band with its Oman experience and photography, has interesting details to share about Flamingods and its new song. “They got in touch with me and said they wanted to come to Oman to shoot a song,” says Sharji. “They gave me a rough idea about their song, which was still getting developed at that point and they told me they wanted something along the lines of a motorbike road trip.”
Sharji, who grew up in Oman and has a vivid artistic take on the culture, community and the rich variety that Oman has to offer, immediately directed them towards the biker culture in Nizwa where lads zoom around in their hand-me-down vintage mopeds. Looked upon warily by pedestrians and the traffic police, this Omani biking community has somehow managed to become an intrinsic part of culture in Oman.
“When they sent me the song, I immediately thought about these bikers rather than opting for the Harley Davidson groups in Muscat,” said Sharji. “If you go to Nizwa, you see young Omani boys wearing their dishdashas and riding their motorbikes. This is something that the band loved and we went around shooting the song.”
Speaking about the song and the decision to shoot it in Oman, Rasool from Flamingods, said, “The song is about letting go and embracing the freedom of the open road, so it made total sense working with the biker boys as they captured what the lyrics were about. These young Omani boys had effortless coolness oozing out of them; working with them was such an incredible experience.”
Over a period of three days, the production team shot across Nizwa, camped in Jebel Akhdar, walked through the green oasis of Birkat al Mouz and captured local elements of life in Ruwi, Sidab and Muttrah. “It was a real roadtrip and was a complete adventure and crazy fun,” said Sharji about the song that follows the four band members dressed in embellished denim jackets riding bikes through dirt roads and walking along picturesque landscapes in the sultanate.
“Everything was spontaneous and most of the video was shot at the spur of the moment,” said Sharji, adding that interesting adventures always seemed to happen to them as they went along this journey. “Sometimes, older people would come and watch us shoot and they would be curious to know what we were doing, then they would get interested and excited on hearing about it.”
The local communities were very supportive too. “Shooting the video was such an amazing experience,” said Rasool. “We drove into Oman from the UAE and went on a road trip with Barbu.TV and Sharji and his friends. We camped in the mountains, cruised through various cities, had some amazing food and got burnt to a crisp by the Omani sun,” added Rasool.
Working with Flamingods was a great experience too, Sharji added, noting that the foursome was cooperative, respectable and culture sensitive.