Lebanese icon hits right notes in Saudi debut

Wael Kfoury croons his way to the hearts of his Saudi fans on Sunday night. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 16 July 2019

Lebanese icon hits right notes in Saudi debut

  • Wael Kfoury has the audience enthralled during the show

JEDDAH: Lebanese singer-songwriter Wael Kfoury, dubbed “the king of romance,” charmed his Saudi audience on Sunday in his first concert in the Kingdom, which was held at King Abdullah Sports City as part of the Jeddah Season festival.

Kfoury, who has been active for more than 25 years and has 17 albums, won Best Arabic Male Singer at the Arab Nation Music Awards in 2017.

He gained popularity in 1996 after releasing the song “Min Habibi Ana,” a duet with Lebanese pop singer Nawal Al-Zoghbi.

At Sunday’s concert, Kfoury modified his song “Yis’id Sabahak” to pay tribute to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Kingdom’s people.

The audience was extremely enthusiastic, chanting Kfoury’s name, cheering with excitement and singing along to every song.

Fans said they were very happy to have the Lebanese icon perform in the Kingdom for the first time, and thanked the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) for its efforts to provide high-quality entertainment in Saudi Arabia.

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Wael Kfoury won Best Arabic Male Singer at the Arab Nation Music Awards in 2017.

“We’re so happy to have him here. I’m one of his biggest fans. Many thanks to the GEA, which brought us events that we really wanted in Jeddah,” said Dima Rasheed.

Abdullah Qabel said: “We were raised listening to Kfoury’s songs when were younger. We’re very happy to be here and attend his concert in our country. Many thanks to the GEA for making all these events available for us. I look forward to more.”

Ebraheem Moawad said: “It was an amazing experience. I’d like to thank the GEA because I never thought I could see these artists in Saudi Arabia. I always thought I should travel to see them, but seeing them in my country is amazing.”

Mona Abdullah said: “I never thought I’d attend a Kfoury concert in Saudi Arabia. I’d always imagined I had to travel to attend his concerts. I was very excited to attend. Kfoury has been one of my favorite artists since I was 10 years old.”

Lamya Ajaj said: “Kfoury is one of the most significant artists to me, and he has so many fans here. I was so happy he came to Saudi Arabia. 

“Jeddah Season’s efforts are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, from the various exciting shows and organizing, to the professional and helpful volunteers.”


Iconic Algerian raï singer Cheikha Rimitti gets square named after her in Paris

Cheikha Rimitti gets square named after her in Paris. (File/Getty Images)
Updated 17 November 2019

Iconic Algerian raï singer Cheikha Rimitti gets square named after her in Paris

  • Earlier this week, the Council of Paris designated an area of the French capital's 18th arrondissement to honor iconic raï singer Cheikha Rimitti
  • The square bears the name of the late singer

DUBAI: Earlier this week, the Council of Paris designated an area of the French capital's 18th arrondissement to honor the late iconic raï singer Cheikha Rimitti. Situated between Rue de la Goutte d'Or and Polonceau, the square bears the name of the Algerian musical pioneer.

Often called the “grandma of raï music,” Rimitti was born Saadia El-Ghizania to a impoverished family near Sidi Bel Abbes, Algeria, in 1923.

After being orphaned during childhood, she went on to join a troupe of traditional Algerian musicians and sang and danced at weddings and celebrations around West Algeria before moving to the rural town of Relizane and writing her own songs.

During her decades-long career, she composed more than 200 songs that tackled themes of colonialism, poverty and immigration that have inspired some of today’s most celebrated raï singers, including Cheb Khaled and Rachid Taha.

She moved to Paris in 1978, where her music went on to garner international recognition. In addition to performing in sold-out tours in major cities across the world, she also collaborated with Robert Fripp and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The iconic singer died in Paris in 2006 at the age of 83 from a heart attack, just two days after performing at the Zenith.