Saudi National Music Band a hit in debut performance

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The Saudi National Music Band performs at Souq Okaz’s 12th edition on Tuesday. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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(AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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(AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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(AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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(AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Prince Sultan bin Salman (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 12 July 2018

Saudi National Music Band a hit in debut performance

  • ‘Everyone in this band is Saudi, it’s a Saudi band 100 percent’
  • Saudi National Music Band is an initiative taken by the General Culture Authority in Riyadh

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.

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.