Inspired by Saudi Arabia’s social reforms, Syrian musician steps up effort to promote cultural harmony, tolerance

Abu Al-Kheir’s performance was well-received by the audience in Jeddah. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 06 October 2019

Inspired by Saudi Arabia’s social reforms, Syrian musician steps up effort to promote cultural harmony, tolerance

  • Abu Al-Kheir wants to bridge gaps between different communities through his performances

JEDDAH: Since time immemorial, music has played a key role in binding human society. Social reforms in Saudi Arabia, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have paved the way for many public musical performances.
These reforms have given artists opportunities to express themselves. Syrian musician Basheer Abu Al-Kheir, 75, has been playing the qanun, a string instrument, in different parts of the Arab world for 50 years. He has been performing in Jeddah for six years, and began performing in cafes and restaurants over a year ago.
Abu Al-Kheir was well-received by the audience at Jeddah’s Naranj, where he performed Sufi songs.
“I was asked on a Friday night to come to the restaurant and perform religious Ibtihalat (chanting praise of Allah), and the audience liked my performance as it came from a pure heart full of spirituality and thoughtful words,” he told Arab News. “Consequently, people started asking me for more performances.”

BACKGROUND

• Basheer Abu Al-Kheir has been playing the qanun for 55 years, and his voice has been familiar to radio listeners in Damascus, Cairo and Amman for 50 years.

• Syrian musician Basheer Abu Al-Kheir has been performing in Jeddah for six years, and began performing in cafes and restaurants over a year ago.

Abu Al-Kheir wants to bridge gaps between different communities through his music, which focuses on praising Allah.
“We should accept other Muslim communities as we have something very important in common: The worship of Allah and love for his prophet,” he said, adding that music is the only common language between everyone on this planet.
“When it’s authentic and stemming from a sincere place, there’s no doubt that music refines the hearts of its listeners and takes them to a world free of grudges,” he said.
“Hearts are purified and hatred is thrown far away, and only love and serenity among people will remain.”

 

We should accept other Muslim communities as we have something very important in common: The worship of Allah and love for his prophet. Music is the only common language between everyone on this planet.

Basheer Abu Al-Kheir, Musician

Abu Al-Kheir said the Vision 2030 reform plan paved the way for the art scene in Saudi Arabia. “There’s no doubt that the reform steps taken by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were wonderful on all levels, especially the revitalization of the art scene in general and music in particular,” he added.
“We could only dream of this opportunity (performing in public places such as restaurants and hotels) in the past. The field of art has become essential, which has made people happy.”

 


King Salman receives Kuwaiti deputy PM

Updated 28 min 6 sec ago

King Salman receives Kuwaiti deputy PM

  • During the meeting, the king conveyed his greetings to Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
  • King Salman also received the credentials of a number of ambassadors to the Kingdom on Wednesday

RIYADH: King Salman on Wednesday received Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister, who conveyed the greetings of the Kuwaiti emir.
During their meeting in Riyadh, the king also conveyed his greetings to Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
The audience was attended by Saudi Minister of State Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Kuwaiti Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sheikh Ali Al-Khalid Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and a number of officials.
Also on Wednesday, King Salman received the credentials of a number of ambassadors to the Kingdom.
These included Ambassador of Guinea-Bissau Mamadou Sanou, Ambassador of Maldives Mohamed Khaleel, Ambassador of Cyprus Stavros Avgoustides, Ambassador of Malaysia Abd Razak Abdul Wahab, Ambassador of Sweden Niclas Trouve, Ambassador of Niger Abubakar Hassan Dan Sokoto, Ambassador of Singapore Wong Chow Ming, Ambassador of Slovenia Mateja Prevolse, Ambassador of Egypt Ahmed Farouk Mohamed Tawfiq, and Ambassador of Colombia Ana Milena Munoz de Gaviria.
The king welcomed the ambassadors to Saudi Arabia, sending his greetings to the leaders of their countries, wishing them success in their missions to enhance and develop relations between the Kingdom and their nations.
The ambassadors conveyed the greetings of their leaders to the king and stressed their keenness to enhance and develop relations between their countries and the Kingdom.