TaifThe Saudi National Music Band was given a warm reception when it gave its first performance during Souq Okaz’s 12th edition on Tuesday.
It was attended by the chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, Prince Sultan bin Salman, and introduced by radio presenter Khadijah Al-Waal.
The night began with the beautiful sounds of instrumental Arabian music, which entranced the audience. The band then played the nationwide favorite “Jina Min Al-Taif,” and paid tribute to King Salman with “Aash Salman.” The crowd clapped and sang along patriotically.
The head of the music sector at the General Culture Authority, Diya Azzony, said the Saudi National Music Band is an initiative taken by the General Culture Authority in Riyadh.
“The band features the best Saudi musicians available in Saudi Arabia. We have musicians from the western province, from the south, from the center of Saudi Arabia, from the north,” Azzony told Arab News.
“It’s a combination of musicians who joined for the same purpose, to represent the General Culture Authority in Saudi Arabia in national and international events musically.”
He explained that the band is led by Saudi singer Dr. Abdel Rab Idris.
“The musicians’ maestro is Emad Zaree, who is on the qanun. The main section of the band is the string section, which is the violins and cellos. We have the solo artists, the ney flute, we have two oud players, and we also have a pianist and a keyboard player as well,” he said.
“We have a chorus section of more than five singers. Of course the number of musicians depends on the size of the stage, on the event itself, but the band itself can have as many as 35 musicians,” according to the music meastro.
Azzony highlighted that the role of the General Culture Authority is to fully support the Saudi National Music Band.
“Today’s event at Souq Okaz is the band’s first live performance, and in our job at the General Culture Authority our mission was to establish them as a band and unite them.”
Azzony explained that the material is focused on Saudi folkloric cultural music from all over the Kingdom.
“We mainly focus on playing the songs instrumentally and also modern Saudi national music. When it comes to Saudi national music, we have a lot of songs, both classical national music, national anthems or songs, and also modern ones,” he said.
“Everyone in this band is Saudi, it’s a Saudi band 100 percent,” Azzony added.
Idris, who leads the band, holds music very close to his heart and wishes to be remembered through it.
“My message to the Saudi public is that I wish to serve music through my studies and understanding of music, and to present something to this country, fulfill my duties to this country, to present something that has a new print on Saudi music,” he told Arab News.
Idris said: “(Studying) music is a science, it is not only sounds ... . We went abroad and studied music, we worked hard at it.”
Amin Oqab, who attended the concert, said: “The performance was beautiful. I wish to see them advance more, to represent us on a local and international level.”
The enchanting Souq Okaz that lies on the outskirts of Taif is a historical landmark that dates back to the pre-Islamic era.
Many tourists from around the world visit this landmark. It is also a destination for intellectuals who like to immerse themselves in the history of the place.