Khaleeji music icon Abu Bakr Salem dead at 78

Abu Bakr Salem
Updated 12 December 2017
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Khaleeji music icon Abu Bakr Salem dead at 78

JEDDAH: Veteran Saudi singer and a pioneer of Khaleeji music, Abu Bakr Salem died on Sunday aged 78 after a prolonged battle with a disease. He was last seen during the Saudi National Day celebrations in September but could not sing then due to his illness.
Originally from Hadramout, Yemen, a young Salem moved from Traim to Aden where he met several poets, singers and musicians, namely, Lutfi Jafar Aman, Ahmed bin Ahmed Qasim and Mohammad Saad Abdullah, and eventually started singing.
One of his first famous songs was “Ya Ward Ma7la Jamalak.”
In 1967, Salem left Aden for Jeddah, where he pioneered a new genre of music, called Khaleeji music, along with others such as Tariq Abdul-Hakim and Talal Maddah.
Salem received several medals and honors throughout his rich artistic career from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and other Arab countries. The Arab League honored him in 2002 along with other Arab art pioneers.
The versatile artist traveled frequently between Aden, Beirut, Jeddah and Cairo before settling in Riyadh.
Tributes poured in from celebrities and fans alike from across the Arab world.
Lebanese singer Elissa wrote on Twitter: “We lost a great artist in the music industry ... Abu Bakr Salem, one of the icons of modern Khaleeji music. May he rest in peace.”
“The knight disembarked his horse and left us. Our dear father Abu Bakr Salem left us. Let’s pray together for him, Oh Allah, give him a home better than his home, and a family better than his family. Treat him with your mercy and take him into paradise,” Emirati singer Ahlam tweeted.
Pop star Nancy Ajram wrote: “May Allah have mercy on the singer Abu Bakr Salem … warmest condolences to his family and all his loved ones.”
Lebanese superstar Ragheb Alama said: “The death of the artist Abu Bakr Salem is a great loss to the Arab music and entertainment world ... May God’s mercy be upon you Abu Bakr ... Warm condolences to his family and loved ones ... Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return.”
 


Children’s author Judith Kerr, who wrote ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’, dies

Updated 8 min 28 sec ago
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Children’s author Judith Kerr, who wrote ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’, dies

LONDON: British writer and illustrator Judith Kerr, whose death at 95 was announced on Thursday, captivated young readers around the world with her tales of a fluffy tiger coming to tea, a trouble-prone cat and her own family's flight from Nazi Germany.
With curly hair and a mischievous smile, the petite Kerr worked well into her 90s, saying she even picked up the pace in old age, drawing inspiration from events in her own life to become one of Britain's best-loved children's authors.
Kerr was born in Berlin on June 14, 1923, fleeing Germany 10 years later after a policeman tipped off her father Alfred Kerr, a prominent Jewish writer, that the family was in danger from the rising Nazi power.
"My father was ill in bed with flu and this man rang up and said: 'They are trying to take away your passport, you must get out immediately'," she recalled in an interview with AFP in June 2018.
He took the first train to Switzerland and his wife and two children soon joined him. A day after their escape, the Nazis took power.
The family moved on to Paris before settling in London in 1936.
This story is loosely recounted from a child's perspective in Kerr's semi-autobiographical novel "When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit" (1971) in which the fleeing girl can only take one toy and so leaves behind a favourite rabbit.
Kerr, who started drawing at a young age, credited the success of the book with being "published at a time when the Germans hadn't really managed to talk to their children about the past".
But she is better known for "The Tiger Who Came to Tea", released in 1968 to become a global classic of children's literature, with at least five million copies sold and published in more than 30 languages.
Kerr's first picture book, it tells of a girl and her mother interrupted at teatime by a huge, fluffy tiger who eats everything in sight before leaving again.
She was able to write up the story -- a bedtime favourite of her young daughter -- while her husband was at work and their two children at school.
The fictional family mirrors her own at the time, the illustrations featuring the yellow and white kitchen cupboards of their London home.
Kerr used tigers at a London zoo as models for her feline creation.
Next was "Mog the Forgetful Cat" (1970), the first in what became a 17-book series about the antics of a mischievous, egg-loving moggy inspired by her own pet.
"Goodbye Mog" (2002) was meant to be the last offering -- broaching the subject of death with the much-loved cat departing for heaven. But supermarket chain Sainsbury's persuaded Kerr to produce one more in 2015: "Mog's Christmas Calamity".
Proceeds of the last book were for Save the Children's work on child literacy, and a TV advert was the first to feature Mog in animation with Kerr herself also making a cameo appearance.
In her illustrated story "My Henry" (2011) -- for children and adults -- an elderly lady fantasises about adventures with her late husband, such as climbing Mount Everest, hunting lions, and riding dinosaurs.
Kerr dedicated the book to her husband Thomas Nigel Kneale, a respected screenwriter who died in 2006. The couple met at the BBC, where they both worked, and married in 1954.
Commenting on the book in 2011, The Telegraph wrote: "For all the depth of underlying emotion, there's a celebratory feel to it, an unfeigned lightness of spirit that, throughout her life, has been a great boon.
"It has helped her cope with widowhood just as it allowed her to get over the loss, exile, penury and frustration of her early life."
In 2012 Kerr was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to children's literature and Holocaust education.