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.

FASTFACT

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.”


‘Rome chose me,’ says Saudi artist on breakthrough Italian exhibition

Updated 26 min 48 sec ago

‘Rome chose me,’ says Saudi artist on breakthrough Italian exhibition

  • “Rome chose me and not vice versa. This idea wants to be a bridge between cultures,” Fahad told Arab News
  • He could not be in Rome for the opening of the exhibition, which is open to visitors until Dec. 10

ROME: Saudi artist Sultan bin Fahad has chosen Rhinoceros, an art gallery in Rome’s historic heart, for his first solo show.
The exhibition, “Frequency,” is staged in a 15th-century building recently renovated by French architect Jean Nouvel, and includes six installations featuring light, incense, shadows, music and sounds. Each piece describes a spiritual journey to modernity through many cultures, but one that is firmly linked to Islam.
“Rome chose me and not vice versa. This idea wants to be a bridge between cultures,” Fahad told Arab News from Los Angeles, where he lives. He could not be in Rome for the opening of the exhibition, which is open to visitors until Dec. 10.
“Each of my creations is specific. I wanted to tell a concept that was understood and expressed by the surrounding place,” the artist said. Over the years he collected precious antique pieces from Makkah and Madinah which he found all over the world, including some metallic pieces which had gone missing in 1979. He shot videos and recorded sounds, and used everything in the artwork that describes what he sees as the human journey toward a sacred temple of feelings.
The exhibition includes “Been There,” a piece with four ancient stones inscribed in Arabic interacting with a large plate of luminescent glass. Then comes “If Stone Could Speak,” with white marble works from Makkah. A video is projected showing men and women gathered in prayer.
Another work, “Possession,” shows an image of the hands of men and women trying to get closer to an elusive God, trying to touch the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
“I filmed those people and I was interested to understand why they were doing those gestures. They were trying to reach the divine. I thought it was moving,” Fahad said.
“The Verse of The Throne” contains a projection of a verse from the Holy Qur’an in front of six bowls, with water serving as an element of purification. Then comes “The White Noise,” represented in two immersive rooms, associated by the artist with the prayers of Makkah pilgrims.
Fahad said the exhibition looks to “involve all the senses to create a real experience, going beyond a visual experience for the visitor.”
In this sense, his works represent the place where anthropological concepts were born and became infused by Greek, Latin and Eastern cultures.
In fact, in the Arabian Gulf, humans once measured their existence through the loss of their relatives, creating a cult of the dead, which is reflected in Fahad’s work.
The artist is waiting to see what the future has in store. “I have no plans so far. I am so happy that I could produce something in 2020 due the the difficult time the entire world is experiencing. Let us hope that the situation will evolve for the better,” he said.