Balqees Fathi shines at Saudi Arabia's first female-only concert

1 / 5
Yemeni-Emirati singer Balqees Fathi presented a scintillating performance at the Jeddah Hilton on Wednesday. (Photo/GEA)
2 / 5
Yemeni-Emirati singer Balqees Fathi presented a scintillating performance at the Jeddah Hilton on Wednesday. (Photo/GEA)
3 / 5
Yemeni-Emirati singer Balqees Fathi presented a scintillating performance at the Jeddah Hilton on Wednesday. (Photo/GEA)
4 / 5
Yemeni-Emirati singer Balqees Fathi presented a scintillating performance at the Jeddah Hilton on Wednesday. (Photo/GEA)
5 / 5
Yemeni-Emirati singer Balqees Fathi presented a scintillating performance at the Jeddah Hilton on Wednesday. (Photo/GEA)
Updated 01 December 2017
0

Balqees Fathi shines at Saudi Arabia's first female-only concert

JEDDAH: The Yemeni-Emirati singer Balqees Fathi captivated the audience during the first female-only concert in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

“Good evening, in the good land where my husband was born and my son will be from,” she told the crowd at the Jeddah waterfront.

The concert began with the Saudi national anthem followed by the Emirati anthem. Balqees then sang national songs of Saudi Arabia, including traditional numbers, as well as her own songs.

The General Entertainment Authority (GEA) had announced in advance of the concert at the Hilton Hotel in Jeddah that it was part of the celebrations of the 46th National Day of the UAE, under the slogan “Together Forever.”

Ghada Ghazzawi, owner of GAG, the concert organizing company, told Arab News that 3,000 tickets had been sold, with ticket prices varying between SR2,500, SR600, SR400 and SR300.

“Ten days before the concert, we started selling tickets, and during the first six hours a very large number of them were sold,” Ghazzawi said.

“As for the organizing, we had some reservations as it was the first-ever female-only concert in Saudi Arabia. We prevented mobile phones from being brought to the concert hall to create a comfortable environment for the women to have a good time,” she said.

Ghazzawi said that the turnout was huge. “We hope to have more upcoming parties,” she said.

Randa Al-Sheikh, a broadcaster at Radio Jeddah, described the event as historic. "It’s a radical change. I feel that we have broken a barrier that existed in Saudi Arabia.”

“The ladies were very happy and we wish for more concerts in the future. The start with Balqees was a great success. The organization was good and we want more such events,” Al-Sheikh said.

Khairiyya Abu Laban, a social media influencer, said: “I felt cold at the beginning of the concert but I could not stay still when the second song started. I got so excited. The atmosphere was pleasant and the songs were beautiful.”

Samar Mohammed, a 24-year-old media graduate, said that she did not feel that this was strange or new experience. “The atmosphere was like any traditional Saudi wedding party, but the new thing was the presence of a famous singer, the purchase of tickets and thousands of fans who were shouting enthusiastically.“

Captain Rima, a broadcaster and presenter of radio and television programs, said: “I feel that it's a dream to see this concert in Saudi Arabia.”

“We had so much fun. The audience did not want to leave because they enjoyed it so much. What proves the success of the entertainment body (GEA) is that today is Wednesday and tomorrow is a working day. However, the hall is crowded, and the time is very late. The audience is ready to go to work the next day without sleep because they are attending an event they had hoped for in Saudi Arabia for a long time,” Rima said. “I hope to attend a concert by Nawal Al-Kuwaitia in the future,” she said.

Randa Turkistani, a presenter at MixFM Radio, said that she had expected many women would attend the concert, “but to be so enjoyable that the audience sings half of the songs with Balqees is not what I ever expected,” she said.
 


Special services to aid pilgrims with special needs

Muslim worshippers perform prayers around the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 17, 2018 prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city. (AFP)
Updated 54 min 50 sec ago
0

Special services to aid pilgrims with special needs

  • These guides provide clarification for issues concerning Hajj, Umrah, and the Qur’an in Braille language format
  • There are special vehicles for those who need to be transported from the Holy Mosque

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques has begun services to aid pilgrims with special needs during this year’s Hajj season. Among these services is a small talking watch for the visually impaired. These watches tell the time and prayer times via audio alerts.
Other services provided by the Presidency’s special needs department are allocated entrances to ease access to prayers. These are gates 63 and 68, which were built during the expansion period of the late King Fahd.
There are also specialized paths for pilgrims with disabilities in mobility and the visually impaired with their own dedicated entrances.
Other provisions include a pen that serves as a Qur’an reader for the visually impaired and elderly, and a service for holding and carrying copies of the Qur’an for those who are unable to hold them.
Another service is the distribution of canes for the blind and visually impaired to help guide their path while walking.
A device that assists in Tayamom (dry ablution) is also available.
The special needs unit will also distribute booklets on how to perform Umrah and Hajj, along with guides who can show guests how to pray and explain important rituals to be performed.