Meet Saudi stars of the future

The bands Min Al Riyadh and Mizan wrapped up the evening with a selection of their own compositions, which ranged in style from jazz to a fusion of eastern and western sounds.
Updated 17 February 2018
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Meet Saudi stars of the future

RIYADH: Saudi musicians and bands performed at the German Embassy on Thursday night in the first cultural presentation of its kind to be held at the embassy.
Ambassador Dieter W. Haller greeted 250 guests of various nationalities, including members of the English and Arabic press.
“The embassy has always been keen on offering a stage for young, talented and intelligent Saudis,” said the German envoy, who is on his second tour of duty in the Kingdom.
He added: “It’s a great honor for us to host this cultural event because we see that the young Saudi generation is creative, dynamic and very talented.”
To illustrate the point, he added that a documentary depicting the empowerment of Saudi women, would be shown at the international film festival in Berlin on Feb. 22. Although he will not be attending the event in person, he has promised to send a video message of support.
Embassy Cultural Attache Dr. Rafael Heinish said the embassy decided to hold the open stage night to provide a platform for the thriving Saudi music scene.
“Tonight’s performance brought together people with diverse backgrounds. The nascent music scene in Riyadh is very promising and full of great talent,” he said.
“With every cultural event we discover new and fascinating aspects of Riyadh’s rapidly growing cultural life. We are very happy to be part of this,” he added.
The cultural show kicked off with Layla, a young Saudi woman, playing guitar and singing pop and country songs. She was followed by pianist Eman Gusti, who played classical and modern pieces, delighted guests who burst into a deafening applause.
Asked how she learned to play the piano, she said: “I learned to play by ear with the help of my mother.”
Gusti accompanied Abdullah Sembawa who sang the Arabic song “Be Rohi Fatat” (In My Soul), then performed “All of Me” and “Someone Like You.”
The 23-year-old Sembawa, a dental student at Riyadh Elm University, told Arab News: “It makes me feel good that the guests were happy with my performance. I hope to share my talent with more people.”
He has been singing since the age of 10 and has performed in various events in the capital.
Later the Remedy and Semba band delighted the audience with rap and pop music while the band Reminisce offered blues, jazz and funk music. The Levant band showcased well-known Arabic and English pieces.
The bands Min Al Riyadh and Mizan wrapped up the evening with a selection of their own compositions, which ranged in style from jazz to a fusion of Eastern and Western sounds.


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.