Saudi welcomes stellar lineup at KAEC Jazz Fest

Erik Truffaz (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Saudi welcomes stellar lineup at KAEC Jazz Fest

DUBAI: The KAEC International Jazz Festival kicks off Thursday in Juman Park in Jeddah’s King Abdullah Economic City. The two-day event boasts an impressive lineup of major regional and international artists.
Thursday night is headlined by the extraordinary French nu-jazz trumpeter Erik Truffaz — widely hailed as one of the, if not the, best in the world.
Truffaz has pushed the boundaries of his instrument, hopping between genres including hip-hop and rock. He collaborated with Lebanese indie band Mashrou’ Leila on their 2014 track “Bahr.”
Also performing on Thursday are Saudi jazz-fusion band Min Alriyadh, acclaimed Lebanese oudist Charbel Rouhana, Grammy Award-winning American saxophonist Kenny Garrett, and four-time Grammy winner McCoy Tyner, a pianist who made his name with the John Coltrane Quartet.
Friday sees Candian jazz guitarist Jesse Cook headlining. Cook, 53, is a multiple-award-winning musician and composer based in France, who has sold over 1.5 million records worldwide. Joining him on Friday’s bill are Jeddah-based covers band The Bright Side, Grammy Award-winning American guitarist Al Di Meola, US singer and guitarist Raul Midon, and the excellent Palestinian oud virtuosos Le Trio Joubran — three brothers who recently collaborated with ex-Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters on “Supremacy,” a response to US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.


Ethiopia says British museum must permanently return its artifacts

Updated 24 April 2018
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Ethiopia says British museum must permanently return its artifacts

  • The artifacts were plundered by British troops from the fortress of Emperor Tewodros II 150 years ago
  • Among the items on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum are sacred manuscripts and gold 

ADDIS ABABA: Britain must permanently return all artifacts from Ethiopia held by the Victoria and Albert Museum and Addis Ababa will not accept them on loan, an Ethiopian government official said.
The call comes after the museum, one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, put Ethiopian treasures plundered by British forces on display.
“Well, it would be exciting if the items held at the V&A could be part of a long-term loan with a cultural institution in Ethiopia,” museum director Tristram Hunt said.
“These items have never been on a long-term loan in Ethiopia, but as we look to the future I think what we’re interested in are partnerships around conservation, interpretation, heritage management, and these need to be supported by government assistance so that institutions like the V&A can support sister institutions in Ethiopia.”
Among the items on display are sacred manuscripts and gold taken from the Battle of Maqdala 150 years ago, when British troops ransacked the fortress of Emperor Tewodros II.
The offer of a loan did not go far enough for Ethiopia.
“What we have asked (for) was the restitution of our heritage, our Maqdala heritage, looted from Maqdala 150 years ago. We presented our request in 2007 and we are waiting for it,” said government minister Hirut Woldemariam said.
Ephrem Amare, Ethiopian National Museum director, added: “It is clearly known where these treasures came from and whom they belong to. Our main demand has never been to borrow them. Ethiopia’s demand has always been the restoration of those illegally looted treasures. Not to borrow them.”
The V&A could not immediately be reached for further comment on Monday.
In launching the Maqdala 1868 exhibition of what Hunt called “stunning pieces with a complex history” this month, he said the display had been organized in consultation with the Ethiopian community in London.
“As custodians of these Ethiopian treasures, we have a responsibility to celebrate the beauty of their craftsmanship, shine a light on their cultural and religious significance and reflect on their living meaning, while being open about how they came to Britain,” he said in a blog on the museum website.