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Middle Eastern-influenced psychedelic surf rock
(Palestine / US)

Painted Caves - Arabic American Psychedelic Folk

Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Painted Caves have earned a reputation for their highly original, Arab-American music and mesmerizing live performances. Built on a foundation of Western experimentation and Middle-Eastern tradition, the group uses traditional folk and jazz instruments (oud, daf, trumpet, flute) against a backdrop of hypnotic rhythm (guitar, bass, percussion) and dreamy, uplifting songwriting.

"Painted Caves were a highlight of the Orton Park Festival in 2016. Their unique, mystical sound seamlessly incorporates so many musical subgenres was perfect for our festival! The audience just loved them!" - Dan Hobson, Orton Park Festival, Madison Wisconsin

The band's self-titled debut release (released March 31st 2015 on Amarrass Records) has been a fixture on college radio stations in the US and was on the CMJ College Radio Charts in summer 2015, with radio plays on BBC, PRI, WBEZ, and many more. A special edition run of hand-cut vinyl was released in April 2017, made in India!

Painted Caves have played major festivals across the US Midwest including Summerfest (2015, 2017), Milwaukee Psych Fest, Marquette Waterfront Festival, River Rhythms, Chill on the Hill, Lake Moon Festival, Orton Park Festival and more. The group made their international debut at the Amarrass Music Festival in New Delhi, India in 2014 and made its European debut in March-April 2017, with stops in Belgium and Denmark.

The band is currently planning it's next tour in Europe and US for Spring 2018, as it gets the second album ready for release!


Group Size: 4 Artists
  • Ali Lubbad: guitar, vocals
  • Mike Kashou: oud, trumpet, daf
  • Vocals, flute
  • Drums
  • + 1 Road Manager/Sound

Amarrass Records - New Dehli (India)

New Delhi

MaDisoN wiscoNsin

MakiNg Music sustaiNable






Painted Caves, 2015 - Amarrass Records

Like the official house band for the North African Surfer's Guild, Painted Caves navigates the desert sands out of the Near-East, into the African plains, and out beyond the great Western Ocean...Primitive Music For Modern Machines.

Avaiable on Spotify


"Painted Caves were a highlight of the Orton Park Festival in 2016. Their unique, mystical sound, which seamlessly incorporates so many musical subgenres, was perfect for our festival. The audience loved them." - Dan Hobson, Festival Programmer@OPF, Madison, Wis.
"Painted Caves have grown into a louder, more brazen act over time while still maintaining a distinctly Middle Eastern sound, but there is an unusual belligerence to this performance, if flute-heavy music can possibly be belligerent."Milwaukee Records
"Painted Caves is a true genre bending gem" - David Savage, KZSC Santa Cruz 88.1FM
"The musical influences of Painted Caves ranges from Middle Eastern to The Doors to Indian music to The Talking Heads and the result creates a delicious and compelling variety of textures and rhythms." - Helena Perkins-White, host of Global Revolutions, WORT 89.9FM
"…an alchemical marriage of ’60s rock and age-old Arabic folk, producing an offspring entirely contemporary and ageless" - The Shepherd Express
"Palestinian Notes Emerge from Painted Caves” - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Arthouse Rock” - INDIAN EXPRESS
"Richly Hypnotic, Unique Middle Eastern Psychedelic Grooves from Painted Caves" - New York Music Daily
"Painted Caves emerges as a great work of art!" - Inside World Music
"Dreamy yet with a rock sensibility, the songs are elegantly composed psychedelia rooted in Lubbad and Kashou’s Near Eastern heritage. The reverberant jangle of a Silvertone electric guitar harmonizes with the eerie twang of the oud as drumsticks meld with hand-slapped percussion. Minor keys set the tone for music that suggests an altered reality in a beautiful Kasbah of the mind." - Milwaukee Express


Painted Caves - Painted Caves (Rubber Bullets)

Painted Caves perform Painted Caves (Rubber Bullets) on their European debut tour, at Dexter in Odense Denmark. 1 April 2017. (c) 2017 Amarrass Records, www.amarrass.com

Painted Caves - Painted Caves (Rubber Bullets)

Painted Caves at HeadQuarters, Aarhus, Denmark

Painted Caves at Dexter - Odense, Denmark

Painted Caves at Arenberg, Atwerp - Belgium

Public Domain: Painted Caves perform "Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen"

This installment features Painted Caves performing "Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen," a spiritual that dates back to the days of slavery in America. Though the song's composer and year of origin are unknown, it was published back in 1867. Since then, the sorrowful song has been covered by Louis Armstrong, Sam Cooke, Patti LaBelle, and The Blind Boys Of Alabama. The video was shot, recorded, and edited by Cheston Van Huss of Effigy Media. Grant Steskal engineered lighting. Travis Whitty produced the opening sequence. Public Domain is sponsored by Colectivo Coffee Roasters.

Najma (Live at Amarrass Music Festival '14)

Painted Caves - Najma (Live at Amarrass Music Festival '14) .. a new song from the Milwaukee-based Arab-American psychedelic surf rock band.

Blood in the Water

'Blood in the Water' - Painted Caves, live at the Fresh Thyme Block Party in Milwaukee, June 2016.

Al Nakba (The Inheritance of War)

Al Nakba (The Inheritance of War) - Painted Caves, live at Fresh Thyme Farmesr Market block Party in Milwaukee, 4 June 2016. (c) 2016 Amarrass Records.

Paper Tigers (Instrumental/Soundcheck)"

Painted Caves soundcheck with an instrumental take to their "ode to the office worker" 'Paper Tigers' - at the Global Voices series by Hothouse at The Alhambra, Chicago IL on 20th November 2016. (c) 2016 Amarrass Records. www.amarrass.com

In Daydreams (Live at Summerfest 2015)

'Painted Caves at Summerfest 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Jaws of Life (Live at Summerfest 2015)

Painted Caves perform 'The Jaws of Life' at the Johnson Controls World Music Stage at Summerfest Milwaukee on July 2, 2015.

Painted Caves - Najma (star) / River Rhythms Milwaukee

Painted Caves perform Najma (star) at River Rhythms Milwaukee on June 10, 2015.


Milwaukee's Painted Caves new track 'Reincarnation', live at the 'Machine Demands a Sacrifice' at the Milwaukee Art Museum on Sat. Feb 7, 2015.

The Ocean - Painted Caves (live at Turner Hall, Milwaukee)

'The Ocean' - Painted Caves, live at the Present Music Season Finale, Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee, WI. 3rd June 2016. (c) 2016 Amarrass Records. www.amarrass.com

Painted Caves - Blood in the Water

Painted Caves perform Blood in the Water with special guest Madou Sidiki Diabate (Mali/kora) - the terrace jam sessions at the 2014 Amarrass Music Festival. The track is featured on the band's debut album 'Painted Caves' 2012/2014 Primitive Records/Amarrass Records.

Painted Caves - Man is Coy Behind Animal Tears

Milwaukee-based Painted Caves play Middle Eastern-influenced psychedelic grooves that more or less follow the Silk Road in reverse, back toward India. From their debut album 'Painted Caves' released on Amarrass Records. Video: Ankur Malhotra.

PAINTED CAVES - The Ocean (with Barmer Boys and Lakha Khan)

Painted Caves - The Ocean, featuring Barmer Boys Manga 'Mangey' Khan (vocals) and Tarif Khan (dholak) with Lakha Khan (sarangi). Recorded live at the Amarrass Records Terrace Sessions in Gurgaon, India, November 2014. (c) 2014 Amarrass Records. | Audio/Video/Edit: Ankur Malhotra.