Radiohead Takes Israeli Singer Dudu Tassa as Opening Act on U.S. Tour

Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis' debut album won great praise for reworking classical songs of top Iraqi musicians.

Itay Stern
Itay Stern
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Dudu Tassa performs in Tel Aviv.
Dudu Tassa performs in Tel Aviv.Credit: Nir Keidar
Itay Stern
Itay Stern

The Israeli band Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis will be the warm-up act for Radiohead’s concerts in both America and Israel.

The choice was announced on Radiohead’s Twitter account. The band also announced that another Israeli, Shye Ben Tzur, who composed the album “Junun,” would appear as one of Radiohead’s warm-ups in both Tel Aviv and Florence, Italy.

This is an unparalleled achievement for Tassa, whose band has thus far produced two albums. He will now be able to perform for Radiohead’s hundreds of thousands of fans in numerous venues, including the American music festival Coachella.

“In 2010, I gave Jonny Greenwood a record by Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis and was surprised to discover that a song from the album had been posted on Radiohead’s website,” Tassa said on Tuesday, referring to Radiohead’s lead guitarist. “But I couldn’t imagine a situation in which Radiohead would invite me to open their performances in the U.S.”

“We’re very excited and happy to also be joining the performance in Yarkon Park” in Tel Aviv, he added.

The album “Dudu Tassa and The Kuwaitis,” which appeared in 2011, won great praise for its modern reworking of the classical songs of Tassa’s grandfather and great-uncle, who were two of the greatest musicians in Iraq in the first half of the 20th century. The band’s second album, “Ala Shawati,” has won international recognition, and the band has performed material from both albums at music festivals like Sziget in Hungary and SXSW in America.

Ben Tzur, an Israeli musician who has been working in India for many years, has performed with Greenwood before. The two were even featured in a documentary that hit the theaters last year.

The film, which followed their co-production of the album “Junun,” was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Greenwood regularly composes the scores for Anderson’s films.