Top Arab vocal coach gives future Saudi stars a voice

More than 70 performers are taking part in the course. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 13 April 2019

Top Arab vocal coach gives future Saudi stars a voice

  • More than 70 performers with a variety of performance levels are taking part in the course

JEDDAH: Wide-ranging reforms in Saudi Arabia are paving the way for a new generation of Saudi artistic talents, according to a renowned vocal trainer who has worked with some of the Arab world’s top stars.
“Saudi talents are coming to the surface in all areas of the arts,” Toni Bayeh told Arab News.
Bayeh, who is holding a vocal workshop at Jeddah Global Village, said that young Saudi men and women are no less capable than leading Arab performers, and proper training will allow them to fully realize their potential.
“I would like to extend my congratulations to the Kingdom for the changes being made on all levels, particularly in the arts,” he said.
The Lebanese voice coach’s training course tackles vocal techniques suitable for performers ranging from singers to actors and even news anchors.
The four-day workshop focuses largely on breathing as a basis for improving performance skills.
“We shed light on phonetics and highlight better performance techniques. We help participants to use their articulatory system to produce the right vocal sound at the right time,” Bayeh said.
More than 70 performers with a variety of performance levels are taking part in the course.
“This is quite normal and we find it everywhere — some are talented, others are less proficient, while some others just need some help to improve,” he said.
Bayeh, who has worked with famous Arab singers such as Assala Nasri, Nancy Ajram and Carole Samaha, said the voice of Mohammed Abdu will remain one of his favorites.
“I love to hear Abdu’s voice. We have also Wadih El-Safi and Nasri Shamsuddin. They are wonderful performers,” he said.
The vocal coach said that modern technologies that allowed studios to correct out-of-tune vocal performance had their place, but “no matter how efficient these devices or computer programs are, we can distinguish between a man’s pure sound and a refined one.”
A young Saudi participant in the course, Anas Al-Mokhtar, told Arab News that he was thrilled to be taking part in the Jeddah workshop.
“Learning is a never-ending process and we will always be learners. In this course, we have learned so many things,” the law graduate said.
Al-Mokhtar described Bayeh as “one of the most skilful Arab vocal trainers.” “We need more of these courses. We need courses by famous players of all musical instruments. We have musicians whose talents need to be improved by expert musicians,” he said.
However, Saudi singer Haitham Al-Shawli believes that it is too early to introduce music in the Saudi school curricula since many people still believe that singing is impermissible in Islam.
“We need more training courses like the one we have today. Music education is more important than holding music concerts,” said Al-Shawli, who owns a music-training center. “Our music talents need to learn at home instead of traveling abroad.”
“We had a problem getting visas to bring trainers from outside the country, but we hope we can help promote musical culture,” he added.
Al-Shawli said that it is difficult to introduce music in schools, like PE and art.
“Many people are not ideologically ready to accept that music is permitted in Islam. I suggest there should be low-cost private centers and institutes to provide such courses. As a start, the education ministry can financially support students who would like to join such centers.”


US Consulate General in Dhahran celebrates 244 years of independence, 75 years of US-Saudi partnership

Updated 20 February 2020

US Consulate General in Dhahran celebrates 244 years of independence, 75 years of US-Saudi partnership

  • Consul General Rachna Korhonen: I want to say thank you to the amazing people of Sharqiya who remind me every day how warm, wonderful, welcoming, hospitable, and kind Saudis are
  • Although US Independence Day is July 4, the consulate traditionally celebrates the occasion in the spring due to the pleasant weather this time of the year

DHAHRAN: The US Consulate General in Dhahran hosted its 2020 National Day reception on Feb. 19 to celebrate 244 years of American Independence, and the 75th anniversary of the historic meeting between US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Saudi King Abdul Aziz aboard the USS Quincy.

Consul General Rachna Korhonen and her husband Juha Korhonen welcomed the deputy governor of the Eastern Province, Khalid Al-Battal, and deputy governor of Alkhobar, Abdullah bin Ali Al-Seef, as the guests of honor.

Although US Independence Day is July 4, the consulate traditionally celebrates the occasion in the spring due to the pleasant weather this time of the year.

“Seventy-five years ago, two great leaders met aboard the USS Quincy. President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz met to chart the future of our bilateral ties. This first encounter between a US president and a Saudi King laid the foundation for the broad strategic partnership the US and Saudi Arabia share today. Beyond partnership, President Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz forged a personal friendship that is at the heart of the strong ties our two countries share today,” said Korhonen.

She added: “As the first woman to be consul general here, it has been an exciting journey for me. I arrived to Dhahran in August 2017, to a country undergoing remarkable changes.  Vision 2030 has opened new possibilities, tourism opportunities are growing, women are driving and attending sporting events. I have said this many times and it is still true: I have the best job in the best place at the best time.

“Most of all, I want to say thank you to the amazing people of Sharqiya (Eastern Province) who remind me every day how warm, wonderful, welcoming, hospitable, and kind Saudis are. I have made friendships that I know are going to last me a lifetime. When I leave here this summer, I will certainly leave a piece of my heart here but I also plan to take a little piece of your heart with me.”