Fans of Iraqi music treated to a double helping at Tantora festival

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(AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
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(AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
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(AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 16 February 2019
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Fans of Iraqi music treated to a double helping at Tantora festival

  • Ilham Al-Madfai: “The Saudi people have a high degree of elegance in terms of presenting things, taking what is available and turning it into something beautiful

AL-ULA: In a magical night filled with beauty and elegance, a sell-out audience hungry for an authentic taste of Iraqi music enjoyed a feast on Friday evening served up by two of its greatest exponents.
Kadim Al-Saher and Ilham Al-Madfai treated the audience at their show, part of the Winter in Tantora festival in Al-Ula, to some memorable performances of timeless tunes.
Renowned guitarist, singer and songwriter Al-Madfai, known for his synthesis of western guitar sounds with popular Iraqi music, was first on stage at the Maraya concert hall. The veteran entertainer performed a selection of his best-known hits — including “Bent Al-Shalabiya,” “Khuttar” and “Ashgar Beshama” — which generated a wave of nostalgia that was almost tangible.
The audience reacted with delight when the 77-year-old singer announced: “Now I’ll perform one of the most beautiful songs from my musical career: ‘Mali Shughul Belsoug.’”
Later, he told the enchanted audience, “I’m happy to be here with you,” before performing two songs dedicated to his home city of Baghdad, including one written by the late Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani that includes the line: “Oh, Baghdad, I came to you like an exhausted ship hiding my wounds behind my clothes.”
In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Al-Madfai revealed that he was impressed by the natural beauty of Al-Ula.
“I was amazed,” he said. “I was daydreaming about what would I do in such a place for half an hour on my way to the concert.”
He described Saudis as elegant and classy, adding: “The Saudi people have a high degree of elegance in terms of presenting things, taking what is available and turning it into something beautiful —the houses, the rooms and the designs (in Al-Ula).”
Following the wonderful performance by Al-Madfai was no easy task, but Al-Saher was more than capable. Dubbed the “Caesar of Arabic Song,” he entertained the crowd with a selection of his timeless love songs, including “Zidini Ashqan,” “Kul Al-Eshq” and “Eid w Hub.”
The 61-year-old’s high notes echoed among the magnificent mountains and hills of the ancient city of Al-Ula, delighting his awestruck fans.


MiSK, Qiddiya team up for internship program 

Updated 25 March 2019
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MiSK, Qiddiya team up for internship program 

  • Interns will work on entertainment mega-project
  • Program open to university seniors and new graduates

RIYADH: A new internship program for young Saudis has been launched in the Kingdom, following a partnership between Misk Foundation and the Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC).

The program runs from June 16 to Aug. 31, 2019, and provides an opportunity for university seniors and recent graduates to be part of Qiddiya, an entertainment mega-project located 40 minutes from Riyadh.

Interns will have the chance to work at Qiddiya’s corporate offices alongside professionals from around the world and will be placed across 12 departments.

They will learn and develop skills that are required to succeed in their professional lives.

They will also gain exposure to QIC’s culture and learn from executives with over 20 years of experience across several sectors. 

QIC CEO Mike Reininger said: “We are contributing directly to the Saudi Vision (2030 reform plan) by creating a richer lifestyle for Saudi citizens while spurring innovation in the creative, hospitality and entertainment sectors. This unique opportunity allows students and fresh graduates to experience what it takes to be part of the change in Saudi by giving them the chance to work alongside a group of both local and international seasoned professionals. Thanks to this partnership with MiSK, we will be training the next generation of industry leaders.” 

Application to the program is open for those with fewer than two years of professional experience. Candidates must show strong academic credentials and submit a short video as part of their application.

King Salman led the Qiddiya ground-breaking ceremony in front of a global audience last April.

The project is aimed at helping to stem the $30 billion a year which Saudis currently spend abroad on tourism, and has the backing of the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund.

It targets local, regional and international tourists and will be Saudi Arabia’s preeminent entertainment, sports and cultural destination.

It is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, with a total area of 334 square kilometers, surpassing Walt Disney World in Florida, which is only 110 sq. km.