Greek maestro Yanni enthrals music lovers in Jeddah

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Greek musician Yanni performs at a concert in the King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia on November 30, 2017. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Greek musician Yanni and English cellist Sarah O’Brien perform at a concert in the King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia on November 30, 2017. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 06 December 2017
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Greek maestro Yanni enthrals music lovers in Jeddah

JEDDAH: Renowned Greek composer and pianist Yanni enthralled a sell-out crowd at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) on Thursday in a concert held under the supervision of the Saudi General Authority for Entertainment.
Yanni, 63, enjoyed a great reception from fans as he arrived on stage with his 12-piece orchestra.
The show kicked off with a short introductory performance by the trumpet players, with Yanni assisting them on the piano. At the end of this ephemeral piece, Yanni told the crowd, “I am so happy to be in Saudi Arabia. It feels like home… it’s just perfect.”
After the powerful introductory piece, Yanni calmed things with a performance of his popular 1992 track “Felitsa” — composed for his mother — under a bright spotlight, with dim red and blue spotlights falling on orchestra members, accompanied by a sea of smartphones held aloft by the crowd.
While Yanni’s performance included many new compositions, it was the blockbusters the crowd most wanted to hear and he did not disappoint, airing classics including “Nostalgia,” “Marching Season,” and “Standing In Motion” to rapturous applause.
“The Rain Must Fall” was enlivened by the outstanding skills of bassist Gabriel Vivas, while an exquisite rendition of “Nightingale” revealed the phenomenal vocal range of American soprano Lauren Jelencovich.

Perhaps the wildest reception of the night (aside from those afforded Yanni himself), though, was reserved for drummer Charlie Adams’ extended solo — performed with dazzling speed and dexterity — during which he amused the crowd by sipping from his coffee.
Yanni concluded his show with his upbeat composition “The Storm,” which featured a beautiful performance by Armenian violinist Samvel Yervinyan and Lindsay Deutsch, an American violinist. The crowd was noisily appreciative of the awe-inspiring pace at which the musicians performed this intricate piece.
Speaking to Arab News before the show, Yanni’s daughter Krystall Ann, who is travelling with her father, said: “I’m just so happy and thrilled that we can actually be here. It’s been beautiful. I’m excited that we’ll be here a full two weeks, from coast to coast. It’s been lovely so far."
Yanni performed another show in Jeddah on Friday. He will play at the Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University auditorium in Riyadh on Dec. 3-4, and at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran on Dec. 6-7.
For more photos from the concert, click here.


High praise for weed bust: Facebook leads Myanmar police to marijuana-growing Americans

Updated 25 April 2019
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High praise for weed bust: Facebook leads Myanmar police to marijuana-growing Americans

  • Police raided the 20-acre site in Ngunzun township Monday to find nearly 350,000 marijuana plants
  • Seizures of heroin, pills and crystal meth by authorities are more common in Myanmar

YANGON: Myanmar police have arrested one American and two locals after photos on Facebook led them to a huge plantation of towering marijuana plants near Mandalay.
Pictures of the fields of weed started circulating on the platform last week — a rare sight online in a country where police photos of seized heroin and methamphetamine are far more common.
Police raided the 20-acre site in Ngunzun township Monday to find nearly 350,000 marijuana plants — some up to two meters tall — 380 kilograms of seeds and 270 kilograms of marijuana, the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) announced Wednesday.
A released photo showed arrested US citizen John Fredric Todoroki, 63, standing alongside Myanmar nationals Shein Latt, 37, and Ma Shun Le Myat Noe, 23.
Another man, 49-year-old Alexander Skemp Todoroki, is still “at large,” the CCDAC said.
Police confirmed he is also American.
The detainees have been charged under the Anti-Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Law, though it remains unclear what penalties they will face if found guilty.
“We didn’t know this (marijuana plantation) existed,” one local police officer said, asking not to be named.
“We only found out when we were tipped off about it.”
Seizures of heroin, pills and crystal meth by authorities are more common in Myanmar, where weak rule of law and conflict-riddled border areas allow for the industrial-scale production of harder drugs.
Reaction on Facebook was swift, with some offering high praise for the arrests.
Others questioned how the pot growers had been able to get away with it for so long.
“How could the plants have grown so big without you allowing it?” Facebook user Kg Zoe Law commented at the police.
But not everyone’s nose was put out of joint by the agronomists’ antics.
“Let me know where it’ll be burned so I can get in position,” San Yu Ko Ko pleaded.