Ibrahim Maalouf shines at Montreux Jazz Festival

French-Lebanese trumpet player Ibrahim Maalouf
Updated 17 July 2017
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Ibrahim Maalouf shines at Montreux Jazz Festival

MONTREUX, Switzerland: The 51st Montreux Jazz Festival ended in the wee hours of Sunday after two weeks of music events attended by some 230,000 people.
Among the highlights was Ibrahim Maalouf, who made his first appearance since 2006 at the Swiss festival.
The French-Lebanese trumpet player and composer brought his bold, brassy sound to the famed Swiss stage, moving from trumpet to piano solos as he blended jazz with melodies influenced by the Orient.
Maalouf, born in Beirut to musician parents, moved effortlessly between instruments. He grew up in Paris after the family fled Lebanon during that country’s civil war.
“I played my first concert here 11 years ago at the Montreux Jazz Cafe. When it was over, I was tired so I went to bed at 2 a.m.,” the 36-year-old Maalouf told the crowd.
“The next morning, I found out that Prince had shown up at the cafe at 2 and jammed until 5 O’clock in the morning. You learn a lot in life. Tonight I’m not sleeping,” he said.
Maalouf played tracks from his 2015 album “Red & Black Light,” including the title song, “Elephant’s Tooth” and “Improbable.” He encouraged the audience to join in humming, swaying and jumping up and down to his powerful arrangements.
— With input from Reuters
“It was more show than performance,” said Mohammad Ashkanani, a Kuwaiti fan. “But he is a great musician, I have two of his CDs, both excellent.”
“I’ve been coming for 40 years to Montreux, almost every year,” he said. “It is high-class music and I love jazz.”
Maalouf brought 35 musicians from Switzerland onstage to play “True Sorry.”
“It was huge. Just incredible playing with him for 3,000 people,” Damien Limat, a 24-year-old saxophonist from the Lausanne jazz school, told Reuters after the show.
— With input from Reuters


WWE stars soften up to Jeddah children to introduce anti-bullying campaign

Updated 25 April 2018
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WWE stars soften up to Jeddah children to introduce anti-bullying campaign

  • Al-Oula is a non-profit organization targeted to break the cycle of poverty
  • WWE stars sat down in front of 30 students from the institution

Jeddah: The children of Al-Oula –- a non-profit organization targeted to break the cycle of poverty –- had the most thrilling school trip as they came to see World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstars Mojo Rawley and Mark Henry in King Abdullah stadium on Tuesday.
The stars sat down in front of 30 students from the institution and softened up as they shared stories from their childhood and introduced their anti-bullying campaign “Be a Star.”
The stars shared personal stories and the difficulties they have faced.
Dean Muhtadi, 31, better known by his ring name Mojo Rawley, told the children: “We are different in many ways but sometimes you have to focus on the similarities and positive aspects of others.”
Mark Henry, 46, opened up about his past: “When I was young people would call me names and were mean to me, so I decided to become the strongest person in the world.
“I won three world championships in three different world countries that had nothing to do with each other and I am very proud of myself for not letting the mean comments get to my head.”
Henry was world heavyweight champion, and is also a two-time Olympian and a gold medalist at the Pan American Games.
Later the children had the chance to talk directly with the stars. Rawley is originally Palestinian, so he spoke in Arabic with some of the children.
Henry told one of the students: “If someone is troubling you, don’t give them the satisfaction of letting the comments or actions affect you, and immediately tell your teacher or your parents or any adult, and they will help you through your problems.”
The children then took pictures and were given tickets to the WWE Royal Rumble show on Friday.
“Jeddah is a very family-friendly and a culture-loving city, so I love being here,” Henry told Arab News. “The only difference is the language. Apart from that everyone is very nice and warm.”
On the Royal Rumble, he said: “Get ready for the best entertainment you have ever seen with your own eyes.”
“For someone who comes from an Arab background, this is a historic achievement and it will be remembered for ever,” Rawley said in an interview with Arab News.
“When I first found out that we agreed to a ten-year partnership, it was the coolest thing to find out.
“I am very fortunate to be a part of this long-term partnership which will give the citizens a long time to understand and give us enough time to develop our brand here in Saudi Arabia.
“Last year the show in Riyadh was a small, non-televised show but it was one of the coolest experiences of my life, so I am very excited to perform in this grand-scale show. It’s going to be an amazing show. It will rival Wrestle Mania, which is the biggest event of the year.”
Jana Marwan, a nine-year-old student, said: “Everyone told us that the wrestlers were scary but they weren’t. In fact they were very friendly. They taught us how to look out for ourselves and I had so much fun. I am thankful to them.”