How Coachella act Dudu Tassa, an Israeli-Iraqi-Yemeni Jew, resurrected his ancestors’ music (and toured with Radiohead)

Israeli musician Dudu Tassa, who opened Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival with a Friday afternoon performance backed by his band the Kuwaitis and will do the same this weekend, has deep roots.

As an Israeli-Iraqi-Yemeni Jew born in Tel Aviv who plays the music of his once-celebrated ancestors — the Jewish-Arabic composer-brothers Saleh and Daud Kuwaity — Tassa’s influences are arguably more ancient than those of Future, Tove Lo or Lorde.

For the last half decade, Tassa has been remaking Saleh and Daud Kuwaity’s songs for new generations as a way to reclaim their glorious musical past.

“When I was young I didn’t know my grandfather was so big — he passed away three months before I was born,” says Tassa, through his translator (and manager), during a phone conversation.

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