The story of multinational hip-hop trio Outlandish began in Copenhagen's western suburbs in 1997. Friends Isam Bachiri Azouaoui (Danish born, Moroccan decent), Waqas Ali Qadri (Danish born, Pakistani decent), and Lenny Martinez (Honduran born, Cuban decent) banded together to explore their collective musical path, seeking to give voice to "the world we live in." Representing religious diversity (Muslim and Catholic), proficiency in multiple languages (with lyrics in English, Urdu/Punjabi, Danish, Spanish, and Arabic), and worldly musical tastes (drawing from various Latino, Amazigh, and Indian genres), Outlandish's music became known as a "socio-cultural melting pot." The group's debut disc, Outland's Official, was well received by critics and their grassroots audience alike. The disc was nominated for numerous Danish music awards in 2000, taking home the prize for "Best Hip Hop Album." Two years later audiences were treated to Bread & Barrels of Water, which spawned radio hits such as "Guantanamo" and "Aicha." Outlandish found themselves sharing the charts with established Danish pop stars on national Top 40 lists, reaching new heights of popularity. In 2003 Bread & Barrels of Water was released internationally, followed by extensive touring and eventually gold record status. In 2005 the band, filled with inspiration and musical ideas discovered abroad, created their most stylistically versatile record yet. Closer Than Veins touched new depths of musical creativity, as well as political and social consciousness. Outlandish pioneered the Music with Meaning organization, a coalition of musicians seeking to elevate meaningful, socially conscious artists and their music. With fans throughout Europe, North African, and Middle Eastern nations, Outlandish's listeners have become even more diverse than its influences. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez
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