Saudi Arabia to have its first dedicated institute of music

A special memorial concert in Riyadh was held in honor of the late Abu Bakr Salem Belfkih, the ‘golden voice’ of the Arab world. (SPA)
Updated 03 March 2019

Saudi Arabia to have its first dedicated institute of music

  • Abu Bakr was born in Yemen in 1939, and was a teacher before he took up full-time singing.
  • He performed for the audience at the King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh, thanks to hologram technology — with a rendition of his song ‘Ma Alina’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is to have its first dedicated institute for the study and performance of music.

The General Authority for Culture is in the process of issuing a license to establish the new institute, said Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority.

Al-Sheikh made the announcement at a special memorial concert in Riyadh in honor of the late Abu Bakr Salem Belfkih, the “golden voice” of the Arab world.

Abu Bakr himself performed for the audience at the King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh, thanks to hologram technology — with a rendition of his song “Ma Alina.”

That was followed by a raft of Arab stars paying tribute to Abu Bakr’s musical career, which spanned more than 50 years. They included young singers Mutref Al-Mutref and Fuad Abdel, the Kuwaiti performer Nabil Shuail, and artists such as Ali bin Mohammed, Rabeh Sager, Abdallah Al-Rowaished and Abu Bakr’s son Aseel.

Abu Bakr was born in Yemen in 1939, and was a teacher before he took up full-time singing. He moved to Lebanon in 1958, and then to Saudi Arabia in 1975.

He had health problems later in life and his last public performance was at a Saudi National Day celebration in Jeddah in September 2017. He died three months later, aged 78.


Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 15 September 2019

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen
  • ‘Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war.
But the Wall Street Journal has reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied reports Iraqi territory “was used for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said in a statement.
“The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.