Saudi hip-hop host launches The Beat DXB

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Reem Ekay
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Big Hass
Updated 21 March 2018
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Saudi hip-hop host launches The Beat DXB

DUBAI: Saudi hip-hop promoter and radio host Hass Dennaoui (aka Big Hass) is known as one of the regional independent music scene’s most influential figures. Big Hass started the Kingdom’s first FM radio hip-hop show — “Laish Hip-Hop?” — in 2011, introducing Saudi listeners to what he calls “real” hip-hop. By which he means socially conscious, smart rap, as opposed to the commercial “bottles-and-girls” tracks that clutter up the charts.

Dennaoui relocated to Dubai from Saudi around 18 months ago “to give my autistic son a better life” and recently revived an events series that he launched in Jeddah in 2013, The Beat.

“Its main aim is to feature local, up-and-coming artists from the community and give them a platform to perform live,” he told Arab News.

Last weekend saw the first The Beat DXB take place. It featured performances from Lebanese singer-songwriter Jamil Jabbour, Sudanese R&B/soul singer Reem Ekay, and Serbian singer and pianist Aleksandra Krstic.

“The main reason I wanted to launch with these artists was simply because they don’t perform that often in Dubai,” Dennaoui explained. “Jamil Jabbour is very talented with a very strong voice, but he rarely gets the chance to do originals. Reem’s vibe is just incredible, but The Beat DXB was her first live performance in two years! And Aleks is one of my favorite singers in Dubai. We also got a special appearance by Double A the Preacherman who freestyled using lyrics we gave him on the spot, which proved to be very entertaining.”

Dennaoui described the night as “amazing,” saying: “What I personally enjoyed was the fact that the audience was there listening to each and every song: There was no talking, no drinking, no distraction, simply a connection made between the artist and the audience, and watching that was a true blessing.

“I received a lot of great feedback,” he continued. “I expect big things for The Beat DXB.”


Lights, camera, action for Saudi festival of film

Updated 16 January 2019
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Lights, camera, action for Saudi festival of film

  • The six-day event, organized in association with the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), is part of an initiative to recognize and nurture talented filmmakers in the country
  • SASCA chairman and general supervisor of the festival, Omar bin Abdulaziz Al-Saif, said this year’s gathering would include a number of unique programs to support creative young talent

JEDDAH: Up-and-coming filmmakers are being urged to book their places for a popular festival celebrating Saudi’s silver screen.
The Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts (SASCA) in the city of Dammam, has announced the opening of online registration for the fifth Saudi Film Festival to be held in March.
The six-day event, organized in association with the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), is part of an initiative to recognize and nurture talented filmmakers in the country.
SASCA chairman and general supervisor of the festival, Omar bin Abdulaziz Al-Saif, said this year’s gathering would include a number of unique programs to support creative young talent while also promoting and developing the Kingdom’s film industry.
Al-Saif told Arab News that one of the main aims of the SASCA was to preserve Saudi culture, and he hoped the event would encourage the exchange of forward-thinking ideas among young movie enthusiasts.
The festival is part of a year-round drive to give filmmakers the opportunity to learn directly from experienced local and international industry experts, while providing them with a stage to showcase their work.
Ithra Director Ali Al-Mutairi said that the festival had a key role to play in developing the Saudi film industry.
Producers and actors will among the delegates at the festival, which will include 10 training workshops and 10 seminars. Omani, Emirati, Kuwaiti and Bahraini movies will be screened during the event and prizes awarded for best narrative, best documentary, best scriptwriting and best student film.