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Fatima Al Qadiri

The title of Fatima al Qadiri’s latest release, Shaneera, comes from the English mispronunciation of the Arabic word, shanee’a (شنيعة) literally meaning “outrageous, nefarious, hideous, major and foul.” In one iteration, as gay slang used in some Arab countries, a desirable light is shed on these attributes. Shaneera refers to the gender-defying persona of being an evil queen; you know a Shaneera when you behold one.

Over five energetic club tracks, Al Qadiri explores this dark-sided character with friends Bobo Secret, Lama3an, Chaltham and Naygow in their debut recordings. Its lyrics are sexually suggestive, imploring, shady and loving, some original and some re-recorded material from Grindr chats, online drag and femme comedy skits. Sonically, the record combines Khaleeji (Arab Gulf), Western drum kits and Arabesque melodies.

Conceptually, the EP follows Al Qadiri’s long-term exploration of gender identity and performance in the Gulf. Her natural look, at odds with the colloquial presentation and performance of femininity, is transformed on the cover into a max-femme invocation of the Kuwaiti extreme makeup trend. Shaneera, the record, is a love letter to these evil and benevolent queens around the world.