I didn’t know much about Brunei, and the few things I knew weren’t that good (human rights, basically). It’s a tiny country that has very strict laws regarding pretty much everything that is common here in Western Europe. Anyway, I struggled to find many albums from Brunei artists, as it has a relatively small population and being a pop star isn’t the sort of thing you plan to do if you live there.
I found this self-titled album by Qawi Kamri, and he is fairly well known (he has thousands of monthly listeners on Spotify and tracks with over a million streams). Apparently, he moved to the UK to study music production, and well, it shows. It doesn’t have anything that would make you think of Brunei, and it is clear Kamri has been inspired by several American and British artists. It’s more Drake than south-eastern folklore. And that’s fine, of course. Maybe I should have picked something else, but I decided to stick to my first choice.
The album is ok, I guess; it’s not the sort of style I music I listen to much, and many songs feel a bit too similar and the lyrics a bit cliche. But it’s well produced, it works well both as background music or an occasional active listening.
I guess after a few listens it left me wishing that soon people from Brunei will have the freedom to do the music they want to do… Let’s hope so.