Three volumes in and A Blackwatch Christmasyet again nabs a spot on the nice list, showcasing a smattering of Oklahoma artists with charming new holiday standards. This year shakes up the status quo with two themed halves — serving up dusty, countrified Christmas ditties on the Holly-Tonk side and soulful hip-hop carols with Jingle Beats, both with joyful returns.
It has been a relatively rocky road for Weatherford alt-country outfit Green Corn Revival, which has seen its share of highs (acting as backing band for rockabilly icon Wanda Jackson) and lows before an (amicable) split in the road led half of the original lineup to forming Honeylark.
Oklahoma is quickly becoming the indie Christmas music capital of the world, it seems, with yearly compilation albums featuring everyone from Stardeath and White Dwarfs to Graham Colton. So it makes sense that Colourmusic — freak-poppers hailing from Stillwater — would craft a full album of original, offbeat holiday tunes themselves.
The Oklahoma City metro has a thriving garage rock scene. With seasoned acts like Broncho and Copperheads carrying the modern-day torch, the way has been paved for a flock of gritty, young, guitar-centric acts. But nascent Norman trio Poolboy has a knack for riotous hooks that few of its contemporaries can boast.
Nima Tajbakhsh and Arash Motian didn’t have a particular American dream
in mind when they made the move from Tehran, Iran, to Oklahoma City as
teenagers in 2001.
Five years later, they found one. After rapidly and relatively assimilating into U.S. culture, the duo discovered Persian rap in 2006. Soon, Nima T and Arash, aka The Wriders, were born. Now with more than half a decade of music under their belt, the cousins have been working relentlessly to make it in America, through their weapon of choice: hip-hop.
“It just got me. It was finally a way to express all these things I’d been feeling,” Nima T said. “I couldn’t sing and couldn’t paint, but rap was a way of expressing our thoughts coming to America and learning to speak English.”
The guys opt to rap in both English and Farsi, the primary language of several countries, including Iran and Afghanistan. Rather than rebel against the current state of the world, The Wriders hope to break down barriers and stereotypes with music inspired by the likes of Tech N9ne.
“We are talking about the urban truth and the urban reality of the modern Iranian. That’s something the world hasn’t been exposed to,” Arash said. “It feels like a big responsibility, rapping in English and Farsi, and trying to blend those worlds. We definitely try to project a more positive image of our people.”
Added Nima T, “We’re trying to change people’s perspectives of Iranians. Especially now, with us always being displayed on the news in this negative light. We’re trying to show that we are just like everybody else. Our music is positive. We don’t like to degrade anybody else or their culture.”
Sure enough, The Wriders’ proper debut album, “Local 2 Global,” released last fall, was more about building bridges than burning them, maybe even making a little history in the process.
“I think it’s the first album that contains both English and Persian songs in there,” Nima T said.
Added Arash, “We wanted a CD for everybody. We wanted to expose both sides to each other … bringing it together rather than separating it.”
It’s been a decidedly underground effort for The Wriders, but the buzz of “Local 2 Global” is helping build a larger local following, while the documentary “Road 2 Success” is chronicling their rise.
“We aren’t looking for one big show,” Arash said. “We are in this for the long haul. This is going to be a long career.”