Meet the All-Female Arab Rock Bands Revolutionizing the Music Scene

Stage lights beaming, a rowdy crowd screaming their hearts out, and the ultimate guitar solo that leaves little to the imagination—rock concerts are unlike any other experience, as they give everyone that immediate rush and thrill. To up the ante, all-female rock concerts take the experience to completely new heights.

Across the region, all-female Arab rock bands have been taking over the very male-dominated rock band music scene in what can be described as an evolving music landscape.

Music today is changing at a progressive pace, leading to a musical evolution that is unlike any other. Let’s meet some of the most notable all-female Arab rock bands out there:

Mascara (2005)

Shifting our gaze to Egypt, back in 2005, a less conservative landscape was alive but one with some constricting social norms. Those chains have loosened up, though, allowing young female Egyptians to pursue a career in music. With that, we introduce to you the Massive Scar Era (also called Mascara), the first-ever Egyptian female band.

Its founder is Sherine Amr, who faced quite a lot of backlash when she formed the group in 2005. That backlash mainly came from her family but also because pop culture was deemed unsuitable for women at that time.

This was not like any band, as they used their music and concerts to advocate for something bigger. “Our band supports women’s rights generally. On our last tour, we were collecting money for Harassment Map (an organization that is trying to create a mass awareness campaign about sexual harassment in Egypt),” Amr said

The AccoLade (2008)

For this band, we are going to need to hop on a mini time machine and head back to a time when the biggest hits were Myriam Fares’ “Mosh Ananeya” and when Nokia phones were the ultimate new tech. Yes, we are talking about the early 2000s, specifically 2008, when a group of college students started jamming out and recording songs in the privacy of their homes.

Via Yazeed

They were known as The AccoLade, Saudi’s first all-female rock band, which included Dina, Lamia, and Dareen. They all got major attention after they recorded their first single, “Pinocchio,” and posted it on MySpace and Facebook. What is different about them is that they lived a double life.

In the morning, while heading to their university, they’d cover their hair and wear abayas. However, once they were in the confines of their home, the abayas came off and were replaced with skinny jeans, Chuck Taylors, piercings, and a whole lot of mascara.

Knowing how conservative the country was back then, it was the only way for them to live out their dream. You can listen to their music through their YouTube Channel.

Slave to Sirens (2015)

All the way to Lebanon, another all-female band is slaying the music scene. On the stage, young women would rock out the crowd with their electric guitars. The band’s members, Shery Bechara and Lilas Mayassi, together formed Lebanon’s first-ever thrash metal band, Slave To Sirens. The band came to life in 2015 when Mayassi met Bechara at a protest in Beirut.

Thrash metal is unique as it is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal, one that involves fast and repetitive beat drums, low-register guitar riffs, and overall aggression. With “Slave To Sirens,” the girls always rely on thrash metal to express their frustrations and emotions related to the ongoing political turmoil in Lebanon.

Random Stars (2012)

Probably the most unique band on this list, the UAE’s Random Stars is the first Emirati all-girl rock band. Picture this: abaya-clad women on a stage, guitars in hand, rocking out. That is the epitome of the Emirati band hailing from Al Ain.

They are all students at the Higher Colleges of Technology at Al Ain and began their rock and roll careers back in 2012. The band actually came together because of their English teacher, Jackie Small, from the UK.

They started off by playing adapted classics such as “Smoke on the Water,” and from there, they began writing their own music.

Seera (2022)

It all started with the AccoLade back in 2008, and today, Saudi Arabia’s all-female rock scene is only getting bigger. Making major noise these days is Seera, the first all-female Arabic psychedelic rock band. Since 2016, Saudi Arabia has completely shifted on its axis regarding its openness to change.

From massive concerts by major international stars to the Grand Prix, the Kingdom has become the ultimate entertainment and sports hub. Continuing that fast-paced progression is having a band like Seera take over Saudi Arabia’s music scene.

The four-member band based in Riyadh includes guitarist Haya, masked “Thing” on the drums, bassist Meesh, and Nora on lead vocals and keyboard. The four had their debut live show on May 4, 2023, at The Warehouse in Riyadh, drawing in the biggest crowd the venue has seen so far: over 250 attendees.

In every concert, they perform their unique music, which blends classic Arabic melodies with psychedelic rock.

Before reading this article, did you know that any of these bands existed? How does it feel knowing that there is such a flourishing boom of all-female rock bands?

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