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.


Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

At a five-star hotel in Davos, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming ‘The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.’ (AN photo)
Updated 23 January 2019
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Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

  • The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders

DAVOS: From the sub-zero temperatures of the icy Davos Promenade you are ushered through a glass door into the warmth of a desert majlis, with works by young Saudi artists on the walls and traditional Arabian delicacies being served. It is quite a culture shock.

The Davos majlis is the work of the Misk Global Forum (MGF), the international arm of the organization founded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to promote youth empowerment. 

The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders.

“The Kingdom’s participation in WEF 2019 highlights its role in developing the regional and global economy, and reflects the nation’s continuing ambition for sustainable development,” said Bader Al-Asaker, head of the crown prince’s private office and chairman of the Misk Initiatives Center. 

The Saudi delegation’s HQ overlooks the main congress hall, inside the Davos security cordon. 

At a nearby five-star hotel, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming: “The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.” 

This is the second year Misk has been prominent at Davos. As well as the majlis, its pavilion offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in modern Saudi art via a virtual reality tour of the work of four young artists.

Misk is organizing daily events there, building up to a power breakfast with leading executives on Friday on the theme of youth empowerment.

“In an age of profound economic disruption, we regard young people as the problem-solvers, not a problem to be solved,” said MGF executive manager Shaima Hamidaddin.

“We’re holding interactive discussions on how to empower young people to be the architects of the future economy, not the tenants of it.”