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.”
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.”