Umm Kulthum returns virtually for Tantora show in Al-Ula

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AN photo by Essam Al-Ghalib
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Umm Kulthum’s fans, who flocked to the Winter in Tantora festival in Al-Ula on Friday, visited nearby archaeological sites as part of their trip. (AN photos by Essam Al-Ghalib)
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Photo: Supplied
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Updated 27 January 2019
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Umm Kulthum returns virtually for Tantora show in Al-Ula

  • Appearing as a hologram, late Egyptian singer enthralled music buffs 44 years after her death

AL-ULA: Though it has been 44 years since Umm Kulthum, the iconic Egyptian singer and actress, passed away at her home in Cairo, she was brought back to life on Friday in stunning fashion, performing in virtual reality to a full house at the Winter in Tantora festival in Al-Ula.
Appearing as a hologram, accompanied by an orchestra and bedecked in flowing, full-length gowns as she had when debuting in the 1920s, Kulthum gave fans the first chance to see her in concert since her death in 1975.
“I was born in the 1970s after Umm Kulthum died,” said Egyptian Nabila Yaseen, who had traveled from Jeddah to attend.
“I grew up listening to her on the radio, and I used to watch her in black and white on TV with my parents.
“To listen to her as if she were really in front of us is something I wish my mother could have seen. It brought back many memories from my childhood, and would have probably brought back many fond memories for my parents from their younger days, too.”
Dana Daham, a Saudi banker, saw Umm Kulthum’s concert with a group of friends. “We heard about what was going on in Tantora and decided to try it out. We went on the website, found tickets, took the train from Jeddah to Madinah and then we drove to Al-Ula. It’s been great, I highly recommend trying it!”
As part of their trip to Tantora, Daham and her friends also visited a nearby archaeological site, featuring Nabataean ruins dating back to the 1st century AD.
“This is one of the few classical period sites with a lot of Nabataean, Roman and Greek influences,” said Zbigniew Fiema, a senior archaeologist with the Saudi-French Archaeological Mission.
“It is of particular importance, because you can really see the influences, and the interactions between the East and West.”
The Nabataeans were an Arab people living in antiquity around Petra, but whose settlements extended down to Hejaz.
“This site existed here between the 1st century BC and the 4th century AD,” Fiema added. “It is relatively unknown to the public, but the archaeological importance of it is tremendous.”
Winter in Tantora will continue until Feb. 2, with performances by Andrea Bocelli next weekend, and new-age musician Yanni the weekend after. Tickets offering various packages can be purchased at www.winterattantora.com.

Decoder

Winter at Tantora Festival

It's a music festival being held at Saudi Arabia's archaeological site Al-Ula, the capital of the ancient Arabian kingdom of Lihyan. Hosted by the residents of Al-Ula in Madinah province, the festival runs from December 20, 2018 until February 9, 2019, with performances by Andrea Bocelli next weekend, and new-age musician Yanni the weekend after.


Tabuk military exhibition: Jump in, buckle up and take off

An aircraft cockpit fitted out with PlayStation DR technology will allow visitors to share the experience. (SPA)
Updated 16 February 2019
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Tabuk military exhibition: Jump in, buckle up and take off

  • The Royal Saudi Air Force is offering the activity as part of the third Armed Forces Exhibition for Diversification of Local Manufacturing, inaugurated on Thursday

JEDDAH: It is one of the most demanding skills in modern combat.
Now visitors to a military exhibition in Tabuk will get the chance to command a fighter plane and take part in a simulated air battle.
The Royal Saudi Air Force is offering the activity as part of the third Armed Forces Exhibition for Diversification of Local Manufacturing, inaugurated on Thursday.
An aircraft cockpit fitted out with PlayStation DR technology will allow visitors to share the experience of fighter pilots taking off and joining in supersonic aerial combat.