Rahbani delights fans at Jeddah music night

Lebanese singer Ghassan Rahbani performs in Juman Theater at King Abdullah Economic City on Friday. (Twitter photo)
Updated 16 December 2017
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Rahbani delights fans at Jeddah music night

JEDDAH: Ghassan Rahbani, Lebanese composer, orchestra conductor, pianist, and singer, regaled his fans on Friday at a classical music night.
The concert was coordinated by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) in Juman Theater on the Red Sea waterfront in King Abdullah Economic City.
It started around 8 p.m. with a dinner followed by a piano performance by Rahbani and the accompanying orchestra.
The multitalented artist, who was raised in a family of musicians led by his late uncles Assi Rahbani and Mansour Rahbani, and by his father Elias Rahbani, told Arab News: “I’m really happy to perform here and proud to be involved in Saudi Arabia’s efforts in promoting art and culture.”
The artist said that throughout his upbringing, he felt close to Saudi Arabia as he grew up among Saudi counterparts who regularly visited Beirut: “I feel enthralled to be performing here to a Saudi audience, as I’m familiar with their appreciation of music and art, and for that reason it feels both new and familiar to be performing in Jeddah.”
Concert organizer Zaki Hasanain shared with Arab News his delight and excitement at the GEA’s support in the promotion of similar events. “We were the first to propose the concept of dinner with live music, and we’re excited to witness it and take part in this cultural change.”
Raghda, one of the concert’s young Saudi attendees, told Arab News: “This is my first concert, and It’s both strange and enthralling to witness it happening in my home country.”
Ali, another attendee, said: “I hope to see more artists coming in in the future. The GEA is doing its best to include entertainment in our culture and the events being hosted are quite interesting.”
 


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 25 June 2018
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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”