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Published on January 11th, 2016 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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United through music

By Sgt. David Beckstrom: 19th Public Affairs Detachment, USARCENT Public Affairs

KUWAIT CITY – Members of Shockwave, the 1st Armored Division Rock Band, joined Kuwait’s Maayouf Traditional Band for a standing-room only concert during the Music Unites Us cultural event at the Al-Shaheed Park amphitheater, Kuwait City recently.

This concert was the result of a combined effort by the U.S. Embassy-Kuwait, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Information and U.S. Army Central to commemorate the sacrifices made by members of the coalition as they helped liberate the Kuwaiti people from Saddam Hussein’s occupation.

“The concert was part of an ongoing celebration between USARCENT and the Kuwaiti people,” said Maj. Daniel Toven, the USARCENT music Liaison. “We are strengthening our bonds of friendship and partnership through music.”

The event started with the Maayouf Traditional Band showcasing Kuwaiti cultural music and dances. They also invited the members of Shockwave to join them on stage and participate in the dance. After which, Shockwave stormed the stage and blasted several classic and modern rock songs for the audience.

“Today was a day of music,” said Suliman Maayouf, the leader of the Maayouf Traditional Band. “We wanted to use our music to reach our friends from around the world and bring them together. We have our music, as does America, there is no difference in the feelings we put into each of our songs.”

As the performers played, the audience would clap and sing along as they recognized the songs.

“We are here to perform a free concert for the U.S. military and the Kuwaiti people,” said Sgt. 1st Class Linda Wolfe, a team leader with Shockwave. “While we are on the stage, we are reaching people with the feelings that we put into our music. We are here to create a moment of togetherness, symbolizing our partnerships as nations and human beings.”

The Army has music assets flowing in and around the Middle East that are used to boost morale of Soldiers and civilians in the area.

“Knowing that the [Kuwaitis] really enjoyed themselves as they listened to songs like ‘Happy’ and ‘If I were a boy’ showed me that music can cross boundaries and bring people of different cultures together,” said Staff Sgt. Charron Duncan, an audience member and liaison officer with 1st AD.

The event was organized to bring people together and enjoy music in an environment of friendship and respect.

“Music gives us peace and happiness, it is the language of the heart and unity,” said Khaled Al Suwaidan, the emcee of the event. “Being able to partner with our American friends will reinforce the commitment to freedom our countries share with each other and strengthen our partnership.”

For many, events where Americans and Kuwaitis get together to celebrate their shared history is a time to reflect on how much the partner nations have in common.

“I was 10 years old when the Gulf War happened, I grew up seeing the hardships that were endured,” said Al Suwaidan. “Music helped me get through it and now I can see music bring America and Kuwait together again.”

This event is one of several celebrating the Silver Jubilee of the liberation of Kuwait.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Mazen Al Ansari, an audience member. “I am very appreciative of the American embassy for putting this event on for us. It is a great way for us to celebrate a very important event and to say thank you to the U.S. military for liberating us 25 years ago.”

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