Music blooms in Saudi Arabia’s mountain resort city of Taif as rose ensemble takes a bow

The name ‘Rose Village’ was chosen in recognition of the importance of the rose as the icon for Taif. (AN photo by Tareq Al-Thaqafi)
Updated 23 August 2019

Music blooms in Saudi Arabia’s mountain resort city of Taif as rose ensemble takes a bow

  • An orchestra of Ukrainian and Russian musicians performed enchanting symphonies by Mozart and Beethoven at the Ward (Rose) Village
  • The month-long Taif Season festival highlights the city as a leading Arab tourist destination

TAIF: Hanging from suspended imitation rose flowers and dressed in white, an orchestra of Ukrainian and Russian musicians performed enchanting symphonies by Mozart and Beethoven at the Ward (Rose) Village in Taif’s Arrudaf Park as part of Taif Season.

The month-long Taif Season will run during August with more than 70 quality events designed to highlight the city as a popular Arab resort and leading Arab tourist destination.

Female musicians in the orchestra played from a height of seven meters, delighting large crowds with a spectacular performance of well-known symphonies.

Mashaal Al-Rashid, head of the company organizing the Rose Village Festival, told Arab News that the name ‘Rose Village’ was chosen in recognition of the importance of rose as the icon of Taif.

“The festival’s content was elaborated, and all the activities and events organized so as to promote the value, and the social and economic significance of Taif’s roses,” he said.

Al-Rashid said that the hanging roses orchestra was inspired by the beauty of Taif’s mountains and their startling roses. 

“Each flower carries a musician holding her instrument, delivering a breathtaking performance and an enjoyable experience,” he said.

The orchestra includes musicians from several countries who were selected after delivering string performances in various world capitals.

 Dr. Nayef Al-Buraq, dean of Taif University’s College of Arts, said that Taif’s character is based on its culture and location.

“It is a cultural tourist icon that evolves year after year to keep pace with the national Vision 2030, with events that attract visitors from around the world,” he said.

“The programs aims to promote quality of life, reflected through the joyful Taif Season that paints a bright picture of Saudi creativity,” said Al-Buraq.

He said that the challenges faced in preparing for this season included developing quality academic programs, highlighting popular arts, and attracting Arab, Saudi and international creative involvement.

“These challenges highlight the leading role played by the Kingdom’s government in catering for culture and arts, and turning this festival into a tourist and cultural event throughout the year,” he said.

Festival visitor Omar Al-Khalidi said that the event offers musical attractions and cultural arts that have long been absent from Taif.

“Everyone knows that Taif is the city of arts and culture, and the first Saudi city to host a movie theater. Arrudaf Park was the scene for concerts for well-known artists such as Abdullah Mohammed, Mohammed Abdu, Talal Maddah and many other Arab talents,” he said.


Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

Updated 17 November 2019

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

  • Waheed Jalal's voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations

RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

Artist and creator Ibrahim Al-Lami. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.