Meet The Kominas, a punk band getting lots of attention these days for only some of the right reasons.
Described by Fusion as “a pillar of radical brownness in a white landscape,” the band has been around for a decade but has been attracting a new following in recent weeks. The group is a four-piece punk outfit from Boston that is no stranger to pointing out the trials and tribulations of being of South Asian descent and, in some cases, Muslim.
As Fusion writer Isha Aran notes, “Their music has always been cathartic, but the election of Donald Trump has forced them to confront even further what it means to be a brown punk band in America. It has also placed them in an uncomfortable position of becoming more visible through tragedy. Since the election, they’ve played a couple of sold-out shows, speaking both to the power they wield to bring people together and the awkwardness of drawing attention during such a terrifying time.”
During one recent show, guitarist Shehjehan Khan recounted a time when he was stopped and searched at the Oslo Airport. The audience fell silent. For some, doubtless, it was all too familiar a situation, regardless of whether they agreed with the band’s political stances.
“We have the audience, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we share the same political views just because they’re POC or at our show,” guitarist and singer Sunny Ali told Aran. With that in mind, the Kominas are trying to be a unifying force rather than one furthering division.
“Every show is an instantaneous, intimate relationship, and you have to treat it like any other intimate relationship,” said drummer Karna Ray. “You accommodate, you build, you try to maneuver it.”
After all, they’ve been performing for longer than President Barack Obama has been in office. The concerns of the populations they represent—on purpose or by accident—aren’t new under Donald Trump.
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