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Zaquurah42 : meet the band that invented Iraqi rock music

Humble beginnings: -

Zaquraah42 is an Iraqi Rock band Formed in 2019: Three friends, Moahmmed Raad on drums, Youssif Alash, and former member Laith Saffar on guitar, Musatafa Rahal on bass guitar, and Mohammed Faris joining in 2020 as lead vocals and keyboardist. They began playing together in their room and soon expanded to cafes, events, and festivals, initially covering English songs. However, realizing the financial and marketing challenges, they shifted to writing original music in 2022.


Challenging journey: -

A creative dispute arose when deciding on the language for their original songs. Mohammed Faris-the lead singer and song writer of the band-favored the pure Iraqi dialect, while the rest preferred English. A compromise was reached with their first original song in Arabic titled "Holmy Arak (My Dream is to See You)," which eventually paved the way to the creation of their first original Iraqi Rock EP, "Hayatna Aghany. (Songs of our lives)"

Mohammed highlights numerous challenges, including financial constraints for their humble,

self-financed equipment. Additionally, the lack of spaces supporting musical endeavors in Iraq, especially for rock music, posed environmental challenges.

Socially, their unique concoction of Western rock instrumentals with Iraqi dialect, sentiment and topics alongside Arabic scales of singing received a divisive reaction from their audience.

Although, it was positively received by many especially those who are already familiar with rock music, others didn’t quite understand what Zaquurah42 were trying to achieve.

“They called us (Spacetoon rock music)” Mohammed noted referring to the popular early 2000s Arabic cartoon channel Spacetoon, “We welcomed that label because we grew up listening to the children’s songs of Spacetoon”.

Unlike traditional bands, Zaquurah42 manages their own marketing, gig bookings, and logistics due to limited resources. Despite these challenges, their mutual support and motivation kept them going, gradually garnering support from friends and family.


Hyatna Aghani Ep :

 All of the struggles and hard work finally flourished in the form of a colorful and unique body of work, released on Spotify, the “Hyatna Aghani” EP features a signature Iraqi rock style with diverse sounds. From the hopeful and sweet title track "Hyatna Aghani (Songs of Our Lives)" to the heavy and gloomy "Ghareeb (Stranger)" and the groovy spoken word track "Mashakel (Problems)," the intentional diversity reflects the band members' varied tastes.

“Our tastes range from Jazz to rock and even electronic music” Moahmmed said “On top of that, we’re establishing a new genre of Iraq rock, and we’re exploring it alongside our audience”.

Despite the EP's diverse sounds, the overarching message is clear – love. The band aims to revive society's belief in love, steering away from the prevalent culture of violence and toxicity in modern Iraqi music.

“We aim to revive our society’s belief in love” Mohammed states “When we find love our motives as humans become more positive”.



Future Challenges and Hopes :

Despite their latest triumph of releasing an innovative and original Ep independently, the future for Zaquurah42 is marked with mystery, with the lack of funding and support for them to continue their creative endeavors, self-funding , passion and their dedicated small fanbase can only take them so far. They currently aim towards crowd funding or getting sponsorship to help push their progress forward.

The members of Zaquurah42 operate on the firm belief that passion and art will prevail against all odds, and we share with them that same sentiment.


Get tickets to Zaquurah42’s show at The Station in Baghdad this Monday here.

The band are also planning to venture on a tour, introducing Iraqi rock to cities all over Iraq.

You can listen to “Hayatna Aghani” album on all streaming platforms, Spotify, Apple Music, Anghami and Youtube. Keep up with the band’s future events and projects on their Instagram.

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