Lulu’s ‘Flavors of India’ festival kicks off

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Updated 24 January 2013

Lulu’s ‘Flavors of India’ festival kicks off

Lulu’s week-long “Flavors of India” festival was opened by Indian Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao to much fanfare yesterday. Those attending the opening ceremonies flooded into the supermarket in search of a wide variey of Indian products on the shelves.
The festival’s opening was followed by an announcement made by Shehim Mohammed, regional director for Lulu Saudi Hypermarkets, regarding an ambitious plan to open 15 Lulu Hypermarkets in Saudi Arabia within the next two years. The opening ceremony was attended by Ashok Warrier, first secretary at the Indian embassy; Shafeeq Rahman, Lulu general manager; and Abdullah Al Enaizi, administration manager.
Speaking after formally opening the festival, Ambassador Rao commended the efforts made by Lulu to showcase India and its products. He said that “India and Saudi Arabia enjoy friendly relations reflecting the centuries old economic and socio-cultural ties.” He said that the bilateral engagement between Saudi Arabia and India had been very intimate and cordial with identical views on all major regional and international issues.
The ‘Strategic Partnership’ and the ‘Riyadh Declaration’ signed by the leadership of the two countries captured the spirit of enhanced cooperation in the realms of political, economy, security and defense besides economy and culture. Ambassador Rao also braved the crowd of shoppers and toured a few sections of the festival.
He said that the Riyadh and New Delhi had forged closer ties, and this India festival is a reflection of those strong ties that the two countries can boast of. On the sidelines of the festival, a photo exhibition by K. N. Wasif, a celebrity photographer of India, featuring the landmarks of India has been organized. Wasif, who started his career as a lensman for the famous ‘Indian Express’ newspaper, is a genius photographer credited with working for several prestigious publications in India and Saudi Arabia.
Giving highlights of the “Flavors of India” fest, Shehim said that the event features a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, food and regional specialities of India that are difficult to be brought to the Kingdom. Also on display at the festival are Indian spices, cardamom, coconuts, vegetables, pepper, milder spices used for desserts; custard apple; fragrant red guavas besides several other kinds of groceries, he added.
Shehim said that the prime focus of “Flavors of India is to portray the diversity of India and its rich culture. Given the cosmopolitan clientele and culture of LuLu, ‘Flavours of India” exhibits the fresh import meat ranges like Indian mutton, beef, veal, buffalo, meat, variety of Indian fishes including Karimean, white pomfret, Rohu fish, fresh Tiger prawns and many more.
Special offers and prices on Indian products will be available during the festival, he added. He pointed out that Indian dresses will be sold on promotional prices until Feb 3, 2013. A special pavilion called Indian bazaar showcasing Indian brands and products has been organized for customers during this period. Every care has been taken to offer “the best products on the best prices” , added Shehim.

EXCLUSIVE: Saudi singer-songwriter Tamtam releases music video ahead of historic end to driving ban

Updated 22 June 2018

EXCLUSIVE: Saudi singer-songwriter Tamtam releases music video ahead of historic end to driving ban

  • Singer-songwriter Tamtam has released a music video to coincide with the day her fellow countrywomen make history
  • In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the LA-based musician said she hopes the song inspires women to see that with patience and perseverance anything can happen. 

JEDDAH: With the long-awaited day when Saudi women can finally drive drawing near, a Saudi singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles has written a song to mark the historic occasion.

Called simply “Drive,” Tamtam’s take on the breakthrough reform covers a range of emotions: Happiness, pride and even surprise.

Millions around the world shared the news that Saudi women would be allowed to drive when it was announced last fall, and with all the preparations taking place, the singer wanted to take part in the best way she could. So she wrote the lyrics to a song that mirrored the exciting events ahead.

Tamtam’s release focuses on the themes of freedom, equality and empowerment that she has explored in her music since the start of her career in 2012.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the LA-based musician said she hopes the song inspires women to see that with patience and perseverance anything can happen. 

“If I had to use one word to describe the feeling, it would be hope. Women in Saudi are ready to have a bigger voice and become more independent.

“This is a huge step forward for all of us. The country is showing us that they know we are ready, and they are here to support us and help launch us forward,” said Tamtam. 

Her song’s lyrics include the words: “We know what we want, we know it’s our time, let go of past perceptions, tomorrow is mine, we got drive” — suggesting that it’s time to look forward and stop looking back at what once was.

The verse mirrors the narrative many Saudis are sharing with the world, empowered by the dramatic changes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is accomplishing with Vision 2030 and beyond. 

Tamtam, inspired by the late Michael Jackson, started singing aged 15. She wrote her first single, “Little Girl,” while attending high school in California after her family moved to the US from Riyadh. Her singing and songwriting have been influenced by events around her, always related to current issues with a twist of optimism. 

Whether it’s her strong vocals or hauntingly beautiful voice, Tamtam’s music transcends expectations. This young Saudi is singing and making a name for herself in the City of Angels, and her positive energy is reflected in her music.

As Saudis embrace a host of reforms, Tamtam believes many Westerners are shocked by the news. Yet people forget that Saudi is a relatively young country and more good changes will come, she said. 

“With hope comes more aspirations, dreams, new achievements and positive energy.”

The “Drive” video is uplifting, with playful, artistic imagery, and soulful and empowering vocals. The singer and her friends wear white, representing peace and femininity, and drive a yellow Ford Mustang convertible (Tamtam’s dream car). 

“Whenever I’m in a car, especially if there is traffic or it’s a long drive, I always turn on music to put me in a better mood. Driving is so much more enjoyable with music,” said Tamtam. “I hope that this song will be blasting through car speakers everywhere.” 

So the question is: Will Tamtam get her Saudi license, too?

“Yes, I can’t wait,” is the answer, obviously.