FaceOf: Talal Maddah, a Saudi musician, composer and singer

The "golden throat", Talal Maddah. (Supplied photo)
Updated 06 August 2018
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FaceOf: Talal Maddah, a Saudi musician, composer and singer

Talal Maddah was a Saudi musician, composer and singer hugely popular across the Middle East for his melodious voice and heart-touching music.

He was known as the “golden throat” for his singing talent. In Saudi Arabia, he was fondly called “The Earth’s Voice.” 

Maddah left an indelible mark on the Arabic culture and music of the 20th century. He was known for playing the Oud, a stringed musical instrument popular in the Middle East and North Africa.

Due to his talent for playing the Oud, Egyptian musician Mohammed Abdel Wahab gave him the title “Ziryab.” Ziryab was the chief entertainer in the Court of Cordoba and a great musician of his time who played a key role in developing medieval Eastern music.

Talal Maddah honored by Google on his 78th birthday

Maddah was born on Aug. 5, 1940, in Makkah. He began his career in the late 1950s with the release of his first album “Wardak Ya Zaree Al-Ward” (Grower of Roses), which was the first Saudi emotional song to be aired on Saudi Radio. 

He also starred in a movie “Fog Street” (1965) alongside Lebanese singer Sabah, and was also the first to perform on Saudi television, and the first Saudi to broadcast his songs from London, Damascus, Cairo, Germany, the Netherlands, Prague, Moscow, and other countries.

He worked on more than 80 albums and composed the songs of top Arab singers, including Mohammed Abdo, Warda Algerian, Faiza Ahmed, Samira Said, Raja Belmalih, Abadi Al-Jawhar, and Etab.

The Saudi singer passed away in August 2000 at the age of 60. He died of cardiac arrest during a live television performance on national TV. 

On Sunday, Google celebrated the 78th birth anniversary of Maddah with a special Google Doodle displayed to Google users in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and much of the Middle East and North Africa.


Misk Global Forum: UAE Higher Education Minister aces ‘job interview’

Updated 17 min 21 sec ago
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Misk Global Forum: UAE Higher Education Minister aces ‘job interview’

RIYADH: The opening session on the second day of the Misk Global Forum began with a brain teaser – how many golf balls can you fit in a school bus? – as part of a job interview, but not just with any applicant.

Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al-Falasi, the UAE’s Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, talked about higher learning and his career in the format of a job interview, conducted by moderator Razan Alayed, an advisor to the Education and Human Resources Council in the UAE.

Al-Falasi said he was surprised that even though he went to very good schools and had a PhD in engineering, he got rejected when applying to many companies because they said he was overqualified. He realized he was underqualified in consulting, so he started to work on that. His learning? “People appreciated the skills I had, not my education.”  

Still, Al-Falasi said it’s important to have a specialization in higher education. “You need a core major. Academic background is still important.”  

To be successful, he said a person needs to be confident and passionate, and that it’s important to have skills of negotiation and articulation.

“I’m not the smartest person,” he said, rather modestly. “If I have to pick one skill, it will be my capacity to adapt.”

Al-Falasi said technology is helping education evolve: “Today with technology, you can have access to the best classes in the world. Data is also important, many say. A lot of technology is built on understanding.”  

At the end of his interview, when Al-Falasi was asked about his salary expectation. Without pause, he said if it’s for a job at Misk, the figure doesn’t matter.

“We all feel very passionate and positive today, especially with what’s happening in Misk,” he said. “All eyes are on Saudi Arabia today.”