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.