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.


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
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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.