German band Mellow Maroc delights Jeddah audience

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The German band Mellow Maroc delights its audience at the consul general’s residence in Jeddah on March 8. 2018.
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The German band Mellow Maroc delights its audience at the consul general’s residence in Jeddah on March 8. 2018.
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The German band Mellow Maroc delights its audience at the consul general’s residence in Jeddah on March 8. 2018.
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The German band Mellow Maroc delights its audience at the consul general’s residence in Jeddah on March 8. 2018.
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Updated 09 March 2018

German band Mellow Maroc delights Jeddah audience

JEDDAH: German band Mellow Maroc proved a big hit with their distinctive blend of reggae and soul during a concert on Thursday night (March 8) at the German consul general’s residence.

The trio — reggae artist Mellow Mark, Mohammed Reda Djender and Mohammed Raafat — have a big following in their home country, and have taken their politically charged songs protesting war and social injustice on tour around the world, performing in countries including Thailand, Cuba, Russia, Morocco, Costa Rica, Senegal, Egypt, Iraq, South Africa and Serbia.

Their performance in Jeddah was their second in Saudi Arabia, following a well-received show at the Janadriyah festival in Riyadh two years ago.

With their gentle guitar sound and soulful singing, Mellow Maroc’s music really resonated with the crowd, combining reggae and soul that evoked joyful feelings and positive vibes throughout the show.

After the show, Djender highlighted the theme of social inclusiveness promoted by the band’s music.

“We are Germans but our drummer is originally from Egypt, I'm originally from Algeria, and our singer, Mark, is a Muslim,” he said. “The thing that joins us is the philosophy of being a German. Of being an open-minded free person working for one society, for one idea called Germany of today. This is the most important juice of our discourse. This is why we see Germany as a very tolerant Country today.”

German consul general Holger Ziegeler said he has been a fan of Mellow Maroc since seeing the band in Riyadh.

“In the true spirit of the close Saudi-German relations, I relate back to two years ago in 2016, when Germany was the selected as host country for the Janadriyah festival in Riyadh,” he said. “We showed that we are not only a country of people that work hard but also a country of people who love to play and love to have fun.

“Our theme for the festival was, ‘Germany: Land of Ideas’ and one of the cultural demonstrations that we had there was the group Mellow Maroc. When I heard them I said it’s not enough to just see them in Riyadh, I need to bring them to Jeddah as well because Jeddah is a place that is also very open to culture historically, and even more so now with the cultural development of Saudi Arabia through vision 2030.”

The formal nature of the evening on Thursday was offset by the casual, laid-back ambiance of the show, as a delighted crowd of distinguished guests was treated to a memorable and heartfelt performance from the band.

“My idea of serving here in Saudi Arabia is building bridges that people can walk in both directions, from Germany to Jeddah, and from Jeddah to Germany,” said Ziegeler.


Solid gold toilet stolen from English stately home

Updated 14 September 2019

Solid gold toilet stolen from English stately home

  • Toilet was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and estimated to be worth around £1 million
  • A 66-year-old man was arrested following the burglary at Blenheim Palace

LONDON: A gang of thieves on Saturday stole an 18-carat gold toilet from Britain’s Blenheim Palace, police said, causing flooding that damaged the world-famous stately home.
The fully-functioning toilet, dubbed “America,” was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and estimated to be worth around £1 million.
A 66-year-old man was arrested following the burglary, which took place before dawn at the 18th-century estate near Oxford, southern England.
The toilet was one of the star attractions in an exhibition of Cattelan’s works that opened on Thursday at the palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visitors were able to book time slots to use it — but only for three minutes each, to limit the queues.
More than 100,000 people used the loo during the year it was on display at New York’s Guggenheim Museum.
“The offenders broke into the palace overnight and left the scene at about 4.50am (0350 GMT). No-one was injured during the burglary,” police said in a statement.
Detective Inspector Jess Milne of Thames Valley Police said she believed “a group of offenders used at least two vehicles” — and left a mess behind them.
“The piece of art that has been stolen is a high-value toilet made out of gold that was on display at the palace,” she said.
“Due to the toilet being plumbed into the building, this has caused significant damage and flooding.”
Blenheim Palace said it was “saddened by this extraordinary event, but also relieved no-one was hurt.”
It closed on Saturday but said it would reopen on Sunday.

The palace is home to the 12th duke of Marlborough and his family, and was also the birthplace of British wartime leader Winston Churchill.
The duke’s brother, Edward Spencer-Churchill, who founded the Blenheim Art Foundation, said last month he was relaxed about security around the gold toilet.
“It’s not going to be the easiest thing to nick,” he told The Times newspaper.
“Firstly, it’s plumbed in and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate. So no, I don’t plan to be guarding it.”
He added: “Despite being born with a silver spoon in my mouth I have never had a shit on a golden toilet, so I look forward to it.”
Cattelan, who is known for his provocative art, has previously described the golden toilet as “one-percent art for the 99 percent.”
The Guggenheim had offered the loo on loan to US President Donald Trump, but he declined.
The Italian artist’s exhibition at Blenheim runs until October 27 and includes a taxidermied horse hoisted onto the ceiling of an ornate reception room.
Blenheim has previously hosted exhibitions of work by Ai WeiWei, Yves Klein, Jenny Holzer, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Lawrence Weiner.
Police said they were looking at CCTV footage to help them in the search for the gold toilet, adding that nothing else was believed to have been stolen.