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JustHere | November 15, 2017

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Rock n’ Roll with Brother James

Rock n’ Roll with Brother James

We’ve seen many concerts in different parts of the world. The crazy energy of a rock band performance, the heady crowds grooving to their music, the enthusiasm of the environment around you; it is a thrill that is unmatched.

In Qatar, the live music and band scene is still in its nascent stage. The search for the ultimate concert experience here is often followed by bouts of disappointment. Just as we were about to give up hope, we came across Brother James, a newly formed band that is slowly and surely entering the music scene here.

The band was performing at the Admirals Club at Ritz Carlton Doha. Although there were slight sound issues, they were enthralling and within minutes, people were moving to their tunes on the dance floor. The crowd at the concert was small and the sound setup was sketchy at times, but there was a certain je ne sais quoi with this band. Highly intrigued, we decided to catch up with them.

Catching up with the band during one of their jam sessions was fun to say the least. The energy they exuded was undeniable. The chemistry shared in their homey studio was loud and warm at the same time. Laughter, random pauses, jokes and experiments with the songs were ongoing as music making ensued.


The band currently consists of four members. They started out on 14 February, 2013 when, just like true love, they found each other after months of searching. Amy Powers – lead vocalist, Vassilis Gouzounas – lead guitarist, James Musselman – bassist and Johnny Franco- drummer make up this awesome foursome. Vassilis moved to Doha recently but the others have full time jobs in Qatar. Amy is a programme producer for a morning show on the radio, Johnny works for a construction company and James works as a music teacher.

“The passion for music should burn like fire in your belly” said Johnny as he paused for a break over his drum set that was still ringing from the song they just finished.

Each band member brings something different to the table. Their inspirations come from a varied set of artists like ACDC, Led Zeppelin, Mumford and sons, Black Sabbath and many others.

When asked how the name ‘Brother James’ came along, the band mates point to James, the bassist of the group. The long-time resident came to Doha to pursue his passion for music and became the go-to guy within the band. When brainstorming for names, Johnny suggested that they call themselves Brother James as the members consider him the ‘big brother’ of the group.

Each band member brings something different to the table. Their inspirations come from a varied set of artists like ACDC, Led Zeppelin, Mumford and sons, Black Sabbath and many others. They also play songs that they might not instantly love but they know the audience will go wild over, so they tweak each song to make it their own. Between the jokes, laughter and musical experiments, Amy said “Every time we start a gig, we have no idea what the audience will like or hate, it keeps us on our toes”

What do they think is lacking in Doha? A vibrant music scene and good sound setup in venues around the city. These are two essential things for any upcoming band in the country, and Doha seems to still be learning the tricks of the music trade.

When asked about their future business plans for the band, James answers with a glint in his eye “Passion, Music and Happiness, wherever these three things take us, we will be there.”

He couldn’t have put it better.

For upcoming concert details, you can visit their Facebook page here.

This article is written by Neha Ratti, Reema Venkat and Shrikala Kashyap. All in their twenties, the three girls run a lifestyle blog in Qatar called Doha Diaries. While they are not at work, they give honest reviews of restaurants, spas and events, and discover other fun things around the city.


  1. Nikhil

    It is really fantastic that the rock scene in Doha is picking up. All the best to you guys and hope I can catch your gig somewhere soon!

  2. Guneev Bhinder

    Honest, intriguing and informative article. My list of ‘things to do in Doha’ is surely increasing when I visit this place.

  3. Band Guy

    I think you have the whole idea of the music scene here confused. Sure, the music scene isn’t all that much compared to other countries around the world. Sure, music has almost always been shot down by authorities, being forced to be confined to restricted spaces and audiences. Sure, Brother James is one of the few better bands that have started recently in Qatar, but the Admirals Club hosts great bands on the weekends. The Rugby Club also hosts some great bands. It’s not about not having a scene, it’s about knowing where to find good music. The Exiles, Jive Turkey, Over Your Head, 4Play are few of the great ones around. I’d be happy to fill you folks in what bands play when and where; the ones that interest me, anyways. Good luck to Brother James!

    • doha diaries

      Hi Bandguy,
      Thanks for the response, we would love to know when and where the bands you mentioned perform. We are still scouring the place for good live performances. Please shoot us a mail with the info when you get the time. Our email id is
      Team JH

  4. annette

    Great article.a lot of info and makes you want to go and hear them.keep up the good job

  5. Varun Khurana

    Great post…as a person in his twenties, this really helps! Thanks !

  6. Sounds like such a treat. Hopefully this review will inspire other budding musicians to take the leap and perform live. To a vibrant music scene in Doha, cheers!

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