Khaliji (also spelled Khaleeji; Arabic: meaning Gulf music) is a type of modern contemporary music characteristic of Central and Eastern Arabia (see Arab states of the Persian Gulf) and popular across the Arab world. It is characterized by heavy use of the oud and other string instruments such as the violin, the occasional use of bagpipes, and the inclusion of percussion instruments such as the mirwas, tabl, and duff drums. Khaliji incorporates elements of African, Indian, and Iranian music overlaying indigenous Arabian genres such as Samri, Liwa, and Sawt.Kuwait pioneered the Khaliji genre into its modern form in the second half of the 20th century and soon became the focal point of the industry in a fashion similar to Cairo and Beirut in the case of Arabic pop music. Kuwaitis, in addition to Saudis, were also among the first commercial recording artists and composers in the Persian Gulf region and the Khaliji scene continues to be dominated primarily by Saudi, Kuwaiti, and Bahraini artists and composers today.
Starting in the 1990s, several artists from outside the Gulf Cooperation Council have attempted cross-overs into the industry. Prominent examples include: