Lebanese singer Hiba Tawaji dazzles Riyadh with majestic voice

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Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji worked up her fans with beautiful songs at the all-female concert in Riyadh on Wednesday. (AN photo)
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Updated 07 December 2017
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Lebanese singer Hiba Tawaji dazzles Riyadh with majestic voice

RIYADH: For the first time in the Saudi capital, an all-female concert took place late Wednesday.
The performance by Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji was sold out days before she took to a Riyadh stage.
Many excited attendees of all ages attended a packed King Fahad Cultural Center. The environment was electric with enthusiasm.
Nujood Mohammed, a translator and fan of Hiba, came alone to attend the concert. “The organizing was amazing, and I just love Hiba!”
There were many groups of young ladies attending together to enjoy the concert.
Ibtisam Mohammed commented: “This is my first time to attend a concert in Riyadh.”
When entering the lobby to the music hall, the audience was greeted with the enchanting sounds of a young pianist, Eman Gusti, playing Beethoven’s “Fur Elize.”
A college-going English literature student, Gusti took up playing the piano as a hobby and now plays professionally. This was her first time to play in front of an audience, an enchanting prequel to the excitement that lay ahead.
The event was well organized by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA).
Batool Ali, a local organizer, was making sure that the guests were satisfied with their seats, taking feedback and comments from the guests on how to improve future events.
Ghala Al-Dossary was the opening act, playing a serene oud to the music of Um Kalthoum, as she had the audience entranced with her great talent.
Before the curtain was drawn, a short introduction was projected on a large screen. Everything went dark and quiet. Then Tawaji entered, and the crowds screamed; she calmed them down with a welcoming Arabic endearment, “Ya zeinkom.”
The night began with Tawaji playing famous Arabic tunes but after three songs, she dedicated a song to all the divas, mentioning Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. She then started to sing English-language songs. The crowd cheered and clapped along.
Tawaji dedicated a song to the late Italian/Egyptian singer Dalida, before singing her song “Helwa ya balidi.”


Prince Harry raises Invictus Games flag over Sydney Harbor

Updated 19 October 2018
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Prince Harry raises Invictus Games flag over Sydney Harbor

  • The sporting event, founded by Prince Harry in 2014, starts on Saturday
  • Prince Harry and his wife, American former actress Meghan Markle, will attend the opening and closing games ceremonies.

SYDNEY: Prince Harry scaled the Sydney Harbor Bridge on Friday to raise a flag marking the arrival of the Invictus Games, his brainchild and the focus of his current royal tour of Australia and the South Pacific.
The sporting event, founded by Harry in 2014, starts on Saturday. It gives sick and injured military personnel and veterans the opportunity to compete in sports such as wheelchair basketball and to find inspiration to recover.
The fact that the Duchess of Sussex never planned to climb the world’s tallest steel arch bridge with her husband had fueled speculation that she is pregnant. The speculation was confirmed on Monday when Harry and the former Meghan Markle announced that their first child is due in the northern spring.
Harry, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, four members of the Australian team and the widow of an Australian veteran climbed more than 1,000 steps up the back of an arch to raise the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 flag.
“The Sydney Harbor Bridge is an Australian icon and I can think of no better place to raise the ... flag,” Morrison said in a statement.
During the descent, Harry hugged fellow climber Gwen Cherne, a games ambassador whose husband Peter Cafe, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, took his own life in February.
“We were talking about mental health and really working on changing the way that our global community looks at mental health and deals with it,” Cherne said later.
The flag will fly 134 meters (440 feet) above Sydney Harbor until the games close on Oct. 27.
Harry and his American former actress wife will attend the opening and closing games ceremonies. Around 500 athletes from 18 nations will compete in venues around Sydney.
The couple earlier Friday walked barefoot on Bondi Beach to meet a group of surfers focused on mental wellbeing.
The group, OneWave, meet weekly in an “anti-bad vibe circle” on the sand.
While the group dressed in loud and outrageous fluorescent outfits, Harry and Meghan were more subdued, but their message to the group was clear.
“They’re super passionate about mental health. They are showing that mental health does not discriminate,” OneWave co-founder Grant Trebilco said.
Charlotte Connell, a OneWave member, said Harry spoke of his own experiences seeking counselling more than 20 years after his mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in a Paris tunnel in 1997 when he was aged 12.
“Harry said it took him not six months, but 18 months to find the right person to speak to. ‘You’re not going to find the right person to speak to straight away,’” Connell said.
Both Harry and Meghan used exercise as a way of keeping well, Connell said.
“Even in her jetlagged state, she got up in the morning and did yoga at 4.30am,” Connell said.
“She said it’s so good for healing her mind,” Connell added.
After Bondi, the couple made an unannounced visit to Macarthur Girls High School in Parramatta in central Sydney.
The shrieking students gave the couple a rock star welcome to a school assembly.
“When they walked in, I felt like my heart stopped. Their presence just made everyone shocked,” 15-year-old student Rhiannon said.
The couple finished their day’s events with formal meetings with Morrison and opposition leader Bill Shorten.
Harry and Meghan will also visit Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand during their 16-day tour.