Yanni wows Al-Ula, ‘the place where dreams begin’

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Yanni said it was a great honor to perform at Tantora, Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
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Updated 10 February 2019
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Yanni wows Al-Ula, ‘the place where dreams begin’

  • Yanni gave the first complete live performance of “When Dreams Come True,” a piece composed in parts over 60 shows in 60 cities

AL-ULA: The Taj Mahal, the Pyramids of Giza, the Amman Citadel … and now Al-Ula.

The Greek composer and instrumentalist Yanni capped his list of historic worldwide concert venues with a performance on Friday night against the stunning backdrop of Saudi Arabia’s heritage jewel.

“It’s a great honor to be here,” he told the sold-out crowd enjoying the latest show at the Winter at Tantora festival. “I’ve been here for a few days and I’m so touched by what I’ve seen. This is the place where dreams begin, and I find it quite inspiring.”

Yanni gave the first complete live performance of “When Dreams Come True,” a piece composed in parts over 60 shows in 60 cities, and which he dedicated to the people of Saudi Arabia. He also performed some of his most popular pieces, including “The Rain Must Fall” and “Reflections of Passion.”

On Twitter, Yanni expressed his delight and astonishment at the beauty of Al-Ula, responding to local fans and telling them how delighted he was to be visiting the site.

Hundreds of tweets from fans poured in as the concert went on, with people delighting at his praise and urging him to return.

In the past, the musician has been vocal about his support for the Saudi people and the changes taking place in the Kingdom. 

“You have to come to Saudi to feel this and to witness the changes ... I’m really amazed by the speed of how things have changed,” he said.


Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 44 min 26 sec ago
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Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.