Saudi hip-hop host launches The Beat DXB

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Reem Ekay
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Big Hass
Updated 21 March 2018

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.”

History goes under the hammer as London celebrates Islamic art

Updated 27 April 2018

History goes under the hammer as London celebrates Islamic art

  • Leading auction houses this week embarked on an 1,800-year artistic odyssey with treasures from across the region
  • A painting by the late Egyptian painter Mahmoud Said fetched the highest bid £633,000

LONDON: For aficionados of Middle Eastern art, London was the place to be this week. During the biannual Islamic Art Week, the big auction houses held sales of everything from antiquities to modern-art installations, with many works receiving well above their estimates.

Sotheby’s 20th Century Art/Middle East on Tuesday featured two Saudi artists, Ahmed Mater and Maha Malluh, alongside works by  Morocco’s Farid Belkahia, Lebanon’s Paul Guiragossian, Iraq’s Shakir Hassan Al-Said and Syria’s Louai Kayali. A painting by the late Egyptian painter Mahmoud Said, often a record-setter at auctions of Arab art, fetched the highest bid: “Adam and Eve,” at £633,000 (it was estimated at £300,00-£500,000). 

The same day, Sotheby’s held the seventh season of its Orientalist Sale, with Edwin Lord Weeks’ painting “Rabat (The Red Gate)” drawing the highest bid at £573,000, above its estimate of £200,000-£300,000.

At Bonham’s, a pair of gold pendant earrings from the collection of Maharani Jindan Kaur, the mother of the last Sikh ruler of the Punjab, sold for £175,000, eight times the original estimate. 

At Sotheby’s Arts of the Islamic World auction on Wednesday, an Iznik pottery flask raised the highest price, £669,000, well above the estimated £60,000-£80,000.

The Christie’s auction on Thursday featured Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, including Oriental rugs and carpets. A rare palimpsest of a Qur’an written over an earlier Coptic text, thought to be from Egypt and to date back to the second century, was bought for £596,750.