Saudis gear up for National Day celebrations

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Storytellers entertain children with tales of King Abdul Aziz and the unification of Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Performances of national songs and fashion shows representing Saudi cultural heritage are part of this year’s National Day celebrations. (SPA)
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Updated 23 September 2019

Saudis gear up for National Day celebrations

  • General Entertainment Authority announces events spanning 4-day holiday

RIYADH/JEDDAH: Cities across the Kingdom are gearing up for celebrations to mark the 89th Saudi National Day. The government has announced a four-day holiday starting on Sept. 20.
Meanwhile, the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) has announced events nationwide, including firework shows, concerts, festivals, art installations, photo opportunities, kids’ workshops, live screenings, kiosks and high-end popup restaurants. National Day honors the unification of Saudi Arabia by its founder King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud.
On Monday, Riyadh will host concerts by Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi and Saudi icon Abadi Al-Johar at the King Fahad Cultural Center. The capital will also host international shows from Sept. 21-23.
Some hotels have special programs lined up, and shops have stocked up on products in green, the color of the national flag, which is in high demand for the occasion.
“Keeping National Day in mind, children prefer to take green-colored stationery, clothes, balloons and toys,” a sales executive at a hypermarket told Arab News.
The first of the GEA’s activities kicked off on Thursday evening in the region of Jeddah.

National songs
The festivities were held on Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Street and Corniche Road, with performances of national songs and fashion shows representing Saudi cultural heritage.
The events include workshops for children, and will end with a firework show. Concerts by Saudi stars Rabeh Saqer and Waed will take place  at King Abdullah Sports City.
Dammam, Riyadh and the Eastern Province will host performances by Kuwaiti singer Nawal El-Kuwaitia and Saudi singer Ayed. Cirque du Soleil will perform at the Dhahran Expo until Monday.

HIGHLIGHTS

• On Monday, Riyadh will host concerts by Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi and Saudi icon Abadi Al-Johar at the King Fahad Cultural Center.

• The capital will also host international shows from Sept. 21-23.

• Hail is hosting concerts by Iraqi-Saudi singer Majid Al-Muhandis and Saudi singer Dalia Mubarak.

Hail is hosting concerts by Iraqi-Saudi singer Majid Al-Muhandis and Saudi singer Dalia Mubarak at Prince Abdul Aziz bin Musa’ed Stadium.
In Jazan, families enjoyed heritage shows on the Corniche as well as Saudi art and photography.
Storytellers entertained children with tales of King Abdul Aziz and the unification of Saudi Arabia. Artwork celebrating modern and historical architecture in the Kingdom was exhibited.
Jazan will host Saudi singers Mohammed Abdo and Turki Abdullah at the Prince Sultan Cultural Center on Sunday.
National Day celebrations will provide various arts courses. Visit www.enjoy.sa to book a course in your city.
The courses include pottery and Kufic Arabic calligraphy in Al-Jawf; how to play the rebab in Arar; photography and how to play the oud in Al-Baha; Thamudic calligraphy and incense making in Hail; wrapping flower bouquets in Tabuk; and special effects makeup in Asir.
There will be a major aerial show in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province, and a falcon show in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar.


Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”